Playground-to-table dining a huge hit at CLC

JACKSON, WY — It was the kids’ idea.

A group of four-year-olds at the Children’s Learning Center decided they wanted to grow their own food for their campus in Rafter J, and they’ve already grown it in abundance. CLC now has a greenhouse full of cauliflower, cabbage, strawberries, banana peppers, onions, spinach, broccoli, rosemary, sage, and basil.

It started two years ago with a small, plastic greenhouse. The kids loved it. But it couldn’t withstand Wyoming’s weather and after just one season, it was totaled. Thanks to help from a generous donor plus grants from local organizations, CLC was able to contract Grow Huts to build and install a more permanent greenhouse made of wood and plexiglass. It was installed last fall, and around 60 kids ages 2-5 took turns bringing it to life this summer.

“It’s so dear that they were so serious about it,” said CLC Executive Director Patti Boyd.

CLC contracted with Grow Huts to build and install a permanent, wood and Plexiglas greenhouse on
their Rafter J campus and about 60 kids, ages 2 to 5, took turns filling the planting boxes with soil, planting and watering their first “crops.”

So far, the greenhouse is flourishing (Courtesy of CLC)

It’s impressive, Boyd said, that such youngins are able to stay so focused. Even more impressive? They’re eating vegetables, and they’re excited about it. CLC Chef Caleb is incorporating the greenhouse harvest into snacks and meals, and the kids love knowing they are directly responsible for the food on their plate. Boyd calls it a true “Playground-to-Table” project.

“They’re eating stuff they would never eat at home,” Boyd said.

In addition to getting essential nutrients, Boyd said CLC students are also learning critical life skills: problem-solving, working together, asking questions. They’re also learning motor skills: how to use tools, water plants, pick vegetables. They’re even learning math through measuring and counting. “It’s hitting all the benchmarks,” Boyd said.

“I think, too,” she added, “the younger kids learn about this type of stuff, the more they will care about how their food is grown, and the environment.”

The greenhouse will likely get a break this winter but will start anew next summer with a new set of crops and vegetables for the kids to grow.

Photo courtesy of CLC

About The Author

Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter pursuing a master's in journalism at Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.

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