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US (OH): Open house sheds light on Rural Health and Nutrition Initiative greenhouse in Dayton

Families with children stuffed scarecrows with recycled items as adults took a tour of rows of lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, and other vegetables during an open house of the Rural Health & Nutrition Initiative greenhouse in Dayton on Saturday. The event was held as part of Farm-to-School month and included other activities, such as a scavenger hunt for children.

The 30,000- square foot greenhouse on River Road is easy to spot, but many people don't realize that it provides produce, including tomatoes, spinach, beets, carrots, and several varieties of peppers, to help keep the shelves full for three local food pantries. The produce are also sold at farmers' markets in Lyon County.

"I'm hoping they realize we're here," said Linda Flaherty, Community Food Systems Coordinator for RHNI. "We grow vegetables, spices, and fruit for the community." Flaherty also emphasized the importance of children learning about nutrition and growing your own food. "Food doesn't originate from the store," she said.

The open house attracted Dayton local Jenny Mellott to tour the greenhouse to learn more about growing vegetables. "I work in the schools, and I think it would be awesome to get a connection with kids," said Mellott, a speech therapist at Dayton Elementary School.

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