Heather Blume, the Environmental Horticulture Center coordinator at Cabrillo College, slides her hand underneath a floating layer of lettuce, revealing countless root systems soaking in a long trough that stretches nearly the entire length of one of the 3,600-square-foot greenhouses at the top of campus.
Tucked away on a hill atop the main Cabrillo campus, the horticulture center offers an impressively robust collection of vegetation. Cucumbers, kale, basil, watercress, succulents, berries and much, much more hang from the ceilings and line the perimeters of each of the five hoop houses, three shade houses and greenhouses.
Prior to her life as a horticulturist, Blume was the director of operations for Kimpton Restaurants, a position that saw her work with high end restaurants to hire chefs and oversee daily operations. In this role, she moved around a bit, working in cities like Chicago and San Francisco.
Blume’s passion for gardening and plants as a whole is just as big as ever, but her affinity for education has fully formed. “At the end of the day, we’re really growing students,” she said. “It’s not to teach me how to grow stuff, but to give these kids the skills they need to make a difference. Every generation wants to change the world, and if we can teach them how to do things the right way, we’re doing something positive.”
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