Models | Boone High School

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Boone, IA
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We love hearing from teachers, students, administrators, community partners; anyone that has had a great experience with STEM Innovator.  See examples on the home page.
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Boone High School students are working to combat hunger and promote healthy eating in their community with their student-run greenhouse. Students are learning to grow, harvest, and cook their own food. By collaborating with each other and learning from local businesses, students have designed, built and run a greenhouse that has successfully supplied the school and the community with fresh produce.
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Boone Community School combats community hunger and increases student attendance throughout the design and construction of a community greenhouse. The greenhouse serve students PK-12 by providing not only fresh produce but the knowledge to cultivate, harvest, and cook produce they grow. Hunger is an issue in school and hinders academic mastery. Students partner with local businesses and experts while working in the greenhouse learning valuable employability skills. Science content is mastered using hands-on exploration as students offer solutions to a real-world problem. Students educate the community on hunger issues and healthy choices. As students take an active role in the community, they become vested members of both their school and community.

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Increase Student Engagement
The Boone High School greenhouse have increased student engagement and reduced student absenteeism by providing an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience in the planting, maintenance, and harvest of fresh produce.
Providing Fresh Produce to Those in Need
Produce grown in the greenhouse is distributed to both the school and community members in need. Students distribute a portion of their products to members of the Boone community who experience food insecurity. By providing fresh produce to those in need, students are making a lasting impact on their community.

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Any Boone High School student interested in learning more about growing fresh produce can get involved with the student greenhouse.

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Boone High School teachers from many disciplines brainstormed the potential benefits of a greenhouse, the degree to which it could combat hunger problems and connect students to the community, and where the greenhouse would promote the most student exposure and involvement. Teachers then sought out their initial customers, food insecure students. These students were polled about how they thought a greenhouse would help the community at Boone High School. Yet, they kept asking whether they would get to eat the food grown.  What teachers learned from these students is that they are food insecure and they would be thrilled to have bags of fresh produce to take home and cook. They were excited that they would be able to provide food for their family. They suggested that the team should have cooking classes as many students do not know how to eat anything green. While humorous, it brought up the idea of offering cooking classes centered on using the same items grown in the greenhouse as a meal.

The teachers met with a dietician at Hyvee who stated that the greenhouse would be a wonderful opportunity to excite children into developing healthier eating habits. While teachers had envisioned a seasonal greenhouse which would be taken down mid-late October, customers suggested a permanent structure to allow for production year round. Customers suggested that the summer season could offer hours for our silver cord award and opportunities to raise funds by selling some of our yield at the local farmers market. Students also spoke with parents and students who have family run greenhouses. They reiterated the fact that a semi-permanent structure was needed, one that would be able to withstand the environmental conditions we face. They also came up with ideas to raise funds such as garden “dates” where couples could eat in a decorated greenhouse for certain events/holidays.

Feedback impacted project by changing the initial plan of having a seasonal greenhouse to having a structure which is permanent. The project has also moved away from initially having a hydroponics system due to cost and lack of experience. Customers also encouraged teachers to sell some of the produce at the local farmers market to raise funds and advertise. Customers gave numerous ways to help, including developing a volunteer schedule; a way for families to request food as well as be referred; ideas of produce to grow; ideas for expansion; marketing ideas, such as radio spots, farmers market, community events; and ideas to obtain licensing.

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Boone Community School District

Boone Chamber of Commerce

Hy-Vee

Fareway

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  • Decreased Hunger. Many students  in need have received produce from the Boone High School greenhouse.
  • Support from School Administrators and Community Leaders. Team members presented their implementation strategies and goals to Boone High School administrators and The Boone Chamber of Commerce, who, in turn, offered their assistance in furthering the greenhouse project.
  • Increased Interest in STEM. Student interest in STEM courses have skyrocketed at Boone High School since the development of the greenhouse project. More STEM courses are being offered at Boone High School, and enrollment in these courses has grown tremendously.

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