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US (MI): Montcalm High School presented with a $25,000 grant to construct greenhouse

After being presented with a major grant, teachers at Montcalm High School started eyeing the site of a future greenhouse and wondered if putting it near a back door would give their students better access. Representatives of State Farm Insurance came to Montcalm High School to present a $25,000 grant which will help the school build a greenhouse that will be used to give the students lessons in small business skills and learn to grow their own fresh produce.

“This was part of State Farm’s Neighborhood Assist Program,” said local agent Brandon Disney. “They do it every year. This year, they increased the number of winners to 100; it used to be 40. We got the community behind us this time. This is about the fourth or fifth time we’ve tried to win this for somebody in Mercer County, but this was the first time we were able to put it all together. It’s going to be used for the greenhouse here at Montcalm High School.”

“They had to apply, and they went through a voting process. State Farm trimmed it down, and then the community and everybody involved voted for the winner,” Disney said. Teachers Amanda Feldes and Sarah Krondon submitted the Neighborhood Assist grant application.

“We were awarded $25,000, and the teachers that applied for it, Ms. Krondon and Ms. Feldes, have a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) class. They also have a previous grant called Farm Bot where the robotics are used for watering plants and feeding,” Principal Beth Stone. “So they combining all that for the greenhouse for our kids.

The future greenhouse’s dimensions have not been laid out, but Stone said it would be “a pretty good size.” Its dimensions will depend on factors such as the cost of labor and materials. The greenhouse will be built on a flat area between the school and the football field so the students will have direct access, Stone said, adding that the project will start “immediately.”

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