Thank you to Owen Lackey, Lead Instructor, Horticulture, for writing today's blog.
Nearly four decades ago, Shepherds found itself in an era of transition as enrolled children began to become young adults. A few conversations at Shepherds Home and School were soon purposed toward discovering new and challenging educational activities. Added activities would enhance care and vocational programs for residents. During this era, queries and contacts were extended to friends and families of the ministry in order to include them in the process. One contact in particular took root quickly, resulting in a growing, lively branch of the ministry.
Shepherds greenhouse program began in the late 1970’s with the gift of a working greenhouse from a generous family desiring to assist Shepherds in its ministry purpose. This first 2,000 sq. ft. greenhouse served its function in giving Shepherds a lively, living workplace in which to enjoy plants, get dirty and wet, and work toward productive outcomes!
A campus will often grow and prosper, and, in 1990, the greenhouse location on Shepherds campus proved to be a valuable spot for building expansion. Relocation was planned, but the original family that provided the greenhouse decided that it was time to bless Shepherds again, this time with a larger, state-of-the-art steel structure.
This structure has served Shepherds Ministries very well over the past 25 years. It has been home base for the grounds and greenhouse crews of Shepherds clients who have worked to decorate and care for the campus. Many classes and individual clients have spent time transplanting and potting-up plants for sale or installations on campus each spring. At 3,600 sq. ft., the space provided adequate growing room for spring seasonal bedding sales, vegetable garden starts, perennial divisions, and specialty plant storage.
Seven years ago, Shepherds College opened its doors to begin ministering to the educational and vocational preparation needs of young adults with intellectual disabilities who would benefit from its help. The two primary vocational tracks for students were Culinary Arts and Horticulture. As the College has grown, it has been a great privilege to turn over more and more greenhouse lab space to meet the needs of Horticulture students for active learning space. As a result, the Horticulture students and staff now operate the greenhouse, while Shepherds campus and its grounds crew still enjoy the advantages of growing space, right on campus.
The Horticulture students of Shepherds College enjoy a three year experience in the various aspects of a career in the Green Industry. They are involved in vegetable gardening and small-greenhouse growing of tender crops. They also participate in grounds care, teaming up with the grounds crew in campus work. The spring brings an active, aggressive push toward filling our larger greenhouse, so there is a lot of work happening there! Third year students are then given opportunity to fine tune their skills in local “green” businesses, serving as interns in their work areas for four days a week.
This year, once again, the Shepherds College Greenhouse will be opening its doors to community opportunity.
Shepherds College Greenhouse will be open to the public each Friday and Saturday for the month of May and also Memorial Day. Horticulture students will be available to sell the 30,000 plants that they have been involved in raising. As a part of their training, they will be involved as sales staff, sharing their Horticulture knowledge with the public and learning the ins and outs of customer service!
Plant materials for sale will include:
· Vegetable plants
· Hanging baskets
· Hanging bags
· Custom potting will be available, performed by our students
· A rental program will continue offering large planters (24”) for June delivery to a local site.
Greenhouse hours will be restricted to five hours per day in order to match student availability. Hours will be as follows:
· Friday, May 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 from noon to 5pm
· Saturday, May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 from 9 am to 2 pm
· We will be open on Memorial Day from 9 am to 2 pm
We hope to see all of our local friends at the Plant Sale! Call 262-878-5620 ext. 6423 with any questions.
Shepherds College - Guiding Your Transition to Appropriate Independence. Please visit us at www.shepherdscollege.edu.