Regular school lunches can become boring after a while and may not be as healthy as some students wish; however, these issues could disappear with the ideas of Wesley Quinn and Maddison Woodrum.
Quinn and his friend Woodrum were having a casual conversation during lunch about the quality of their food and up popped a vision. They both thought a garden within the school would be a great way to raise healthy fruits and vegetables for school lunches.
“[My friends and I] had the idea to get a garden to grow fruits and vegetables. We would [put] that into lunches, either into the existing lunches or a new branch of lunches where people could just buy these organic foods. It may be a bit more expensive, but I have talked to plenty of students and they are all like, ‘Yeah it would be better than the [stuff] we have now.’”
This garden would not only boost the organic, healthy side of lunches but would also make them less bland. “The special vegetable of the day,” or some other fancy name, could promote more excitement since the crops will come straight from what is grown at the high school.
This garden is not just some idea by two underclassmen; Quinn obtains an ambition many students lack. He has created a petition in order to prove to the administration that this garden is something worth fighting for.
Quinn and Woodrum are not the only ones in on this idea; their friends, freshmen Randi Mohr, Zach Pearson and sophomore Chase Radcliffe, are also behind this thought. The group hopes to expand the support to many teachers and the rest of the school.
“We have some backing from Joshua’s, Mrs. Dean, Mrs. Probst, even the freshmen principal liked the idea,” Quinn said. “We also got some of the janitors and Officer Smith [to like the proposal].”
One of the main people to consider would be the cafeteria workers.
“I actually think it would be a great idea. It would bring nice fresh vegetables to the building,” head of the cafeteria, Dianne Simko said. “We have an approved vendor in California, but it would be wonderful to have nice, healthy good quality product from the school.”
The petition Quinn created has close to 600 signatures when this epiphany just happened on Dec. 5. The number of names signed on the petition are growing rapidly, and the group hopes to get at least 1,000 signatures.
“Getting some signatures is the first step. Then we are going to go up to the people in power: the principals and the superintendent. We have enough signatures as it is, but I want to prove to the people in charge that [students] are really backing up this idea. We want to say that [people] love this idea.”
Although signatures are the primary step, it may be the most important; however, they also had to plan out the idea even further than just names and a garden.
One thought for the future had to consist of placement of such a garden and how they would go about year round production.
“I personally wish for it to be in the back [of the school]. We have plenty of space. We want a greenhouse style, since most of the school year is in the winter,” Quinn said.
If this greenhouse were to happen, students may question what crops would actually be planted for the lunches. The group of friends hopes to plant many different options such as cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and much more.
Another commonly asked question deals with where the money and supplies for this cause would come from. Quinn suggested fundraising, donations and volunteering to help construct and purchase the supplies needed.
Though many student could help or volunteer, they hope to form a “student run club” of sorts and Quinn’s first thought was to possibly call themselves “the Greenhouse Gardeners.”
This “club” are willing to include everyone.
“The idea is to have a main group of students who are running it but also have volunteers. If you would want to come in, please, by all means,” Quinn said. “We would love any help and it is a good thing to know how to provide for yourself.”
This is all hypothetical as of now, but still thinking ahead, there are many benefits and extensions from this garden.
“Composting was an idea a health teacher gave us, we could put food bins outside the lunch room and the cooking rooms,” Quinn said. “Another idea was, if we could get this at the high school, we could get it at Lakeview, Kimpton or even Woodland.”
There may also be extra produce, which could be canned to last longer, sold or even given to hunger shelters and the homeless.
“We could sell fresh vegetables instead of chocolate, [since] we have a big market in the community,” Simko said.
This potential club hopes to have some solid support and concrete ideas by spring, so if anyone is interested, sign the paper or brainstorm some thoughts with the group.
“Helping us out is helping out the next years [to come],” Quinn said. “If we can start this [now], then we will be helping out next year’s [students].”