Thanks to some generous donations, the Estherville Lincoln Central High School greenhouse was up and running again this year, giving students firsthand experience in midwinter horticulture.
Ag program instructor and FFA advisor Jason Holt said the program received the donations for the renovation which was done last summer. The structure, originally built in 1985, was taken down to the frame and received a new cover and heating and cooling system. Holt said the $50,000 needed for the project came from the donations, FFA funds and ELC.
Holt said his horticulture class has grown seeds and transplanted geraniums. Some students take their plants home while the rest will be on the FFA plant sale Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. One donor asked for a business plan, part of which was the annual plant sale, the proceeds of which will go to the FFA chapter.
n The late Stanley Egertson.
n Bank Plus.
n NorthStar Bank.
n Emmet County Farm Bureau.
n Emmet County State Bank.
n Estherville Lincoln Central.
n Estherville FFA.
One partner, Iron Wind Certified Organic Produce, contracted to have students start plants from organic seeds.
"They're happy with what we produced and we're happy with the way they worked with us," said Holt. Iron Wind markets the produce in the Iowa Great Lakes area.
"They did a fine job," said Rebecca Masters, Iron Wind Certified Organic Produce owner. "I'm very pleased with how things turned out."
Masters learned about the greenhouse when her husband was working with Inman Electric on the remodel. It seemed like a good fit, so they went with it.
Masters said her company is a vendor at the Lakes Area Farmers Market and Arnolds Park Farmers Market. They farm just west of Graettinger, and since they're Certified Organic, either they have to grow their plants or have someone else grow them to Certified Organic specifications.
"They were really good about meeting all the requirements of our certifier," Masters said. "We were glad to put their greenhouse through the rigor the first time."