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Casper NGO To Complete Third Greenhouse in Elementary School

LeAnn Miller
Casper Community Greenhouse Project

An effort to teach kids how to grow food locally in Wyoming, known as the Casper Community Greenhouse Project, is on the verge of completing its third school greenhouse, at Park Elementary School. LeAnn Miller, the executive director of the project, said their mission is to teach kids where food comes from and how to grow it in Wyoming using a greenhouse.

“If we catch them at an early age, and teach them about food and nutrition, and how much better food tastes when you are growing it yourself, hasn’t traveled thousands of miles, isn’t ripened in a warehouse, fresh from the vine, all those sorts of things not only make them taste better, but they are more nutritious”, Miller said. Miller added that greenhouses can enhance Wyoming’s food resilience, given the peculiar weather in most parts of the state, which is not conducive to the cultivation of crops.

“We have very short growing seasons. We could have a very late frost, we’ve often had them late in June, we could get them early in September, so it doesn’t leave a lot of growing time. We have a lot of amending to do in the soil, winds, etc. So we desperately need to expand that growing season, and the only way really to do it, is with some sort of greenhouse opportunity”, she explained. 

Students at Park Elementary school will be able to learn about nutrition and gardening through hands-on lessons that they can take home. Miller noted the project will be seeking more partnership opportunities to encourage local gardening hoping to improve overall health and food sustainability in Wyoming.

“If we can show kids how good food tastes when they grow at home, and how easy it can be to even have a little backyard garden,” Miller said. “Just in their experience at school, they’ll go home, they’ll get their parents excited, they may put a little gardening, and then our whole community is eating healthier, and overall we have a healthier community in the long run.”

Friday Otuya is a master's student in International Studies at the University of Wyoming.

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