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US: NY Students build their own tunnel greenhouse

Cayuga Community College and the Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency have joined together to build a high tunnel greenhouse at the CCC Auburn campus. The greenhouse will allow the community action agency to provide local families and individuals with fresh and nutritious produce, even during the winter months.

The Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency provided money from a hunger relief grant from the Walmart Foundation to build the greenhouse near the Thomas L. Steenburgh Nature Center. With assistance from CCC and community volunteers, cold-hardy vegetables will be grown in the high tunnel and harvested for distribution by the Calvary Food Pantry in Auburn.

As part of a larger vision at the college that identifies agriculture and green sciences as a strategic area for development, the high tunnel also will serve as a training site for project-based educational programs for interested faculty, students, staff and community members who want to learn about season-extension techniques, drip irrigation, organic farming principles and practices and sustainable methods of food production.

Officials also hope to develop programs to children in CCC's child care center can learn about growing food.

The idea for this community-College collaboration originated with CCC Registrar Michael Pastore as a culmination of his leadership training, interest in gardening and passion for community building.

Ground excavation and construction of the high tunnel occurred in November, led by the college’s Glenn Warner, and planting began in the first week of December with garlic and shallots, soon to be followed by other cold-hardy vegetables such as spinach, kale, beets, carrots and lettuce.

Students interested in volunteer opportunities with the high tunnel gardens should contact Sheila Myers, CCC experiential learning coordinator, at this email address.

Source: Cayuga Community College
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