Although there will be unavoidable complications with the timing of the readiness of the produce, the added positives that will come from the greenhouse for the schools will be great, Swinton says. Fairfield schools have even agreed to do the preparatory work for the produce, which means they will do all of the washing and refrigeration.
“That has been a blessing,” Swinton said. “The first year will be challenging … everyone is trying to be flexible.”
Now that the groundbreaking has been done, getting the greenhouse constructed is the next big goal. Any volunteer is welcome to help, since there is a lot of work to be done. Swinton encourages those who are bringing a group to call her at 641-751-9061. Workers who are overseeing the project will be there every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help direct volunteers.
Once the greenhouse is completely constructed, the first plants will get in the soil and hopefully be growing by the time Christmas rolls around. Swinton would love to use January as a grow month and then harvest all of winter produce sometime in February or March.
For the first winter phase, they will stick with traditional salad bar items to see how the soil and heat work exactly. Swinton expects they will be a little less green than they would ultimately like to have since there is less sunlight during the winter months, but they will be “just fine.”
— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh