Warm Winter Night in Greenhouse set

Plymouth High School is hosting A Warm Winter Night in the Greenhouse to share the new Food Science & Agriculture Center with families and other community members.

“We were overwhelmed with the positive interest after the grand opening and fall open house, and that prompted us to consider having another community event sooner rather than later,” said PHS Principal Jennifer Rauscher. “We thought people might be ready for warmth and greenery by February, and the Food Science & Agriculture Center certainly offers both.”

The event will run from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in conjunction with the boys basketball games and PHS parent-teacher conferences that evening.

Attendees can enjoy refreshments and view many different greens, including bib lettuces, arugula, sunflower microgreens, and newly planted cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, as well as see a variety of growing systems.

With the start of the second semester not long ago, students are transitioning from learning about food production to learning about ornamental horticulture. “People who joined us in the fall should be excited to see the progress since then, and new visitors are always welcome to come and learn,” Rauscher said.

The event also offers a preview for the first community classes to be offered in the new facility, which are coming this spring through Community Education & Recreation: Small-Space Gardens, Introduction to Hydroponics, and (for kids) Does My Potato Have Eyes?

The Food Science & Agriculture Center at PHS, which opened in the fall thanks to a $1 million capital campaign by the Plymouth Education Foundation, benefits nearly threequarters of the PHS student body, as it supports curriculum in seven areas: food science, agriculture, culinary arts, engineering, science, health and business.

It is a modern research facility, and features state-of-the-art technology, including:

• Hydroponics, where plants are grown in water without soil

• Aquaponics, a mutually beneficial growing system with fish and plants

• Refractometers, which measure sugar levels in vegetables to determine peak harvest time for best flavor

The facility already has harvested several crops of greens that were served in the school cafeteria. In addition, the Sustainable Food Production class worked with Plymouth Foam to test algae-resistant foam rafts for plants, which did well and were moved into an aquaponics system.

“We’re always looking for new partnerships as well,” Dr. Rauscher said.

For more information, visit www.plymouth.k12.wi.us or contact the high school office at 893-6911.

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