We are excited to inaugurate the new Sweet Briar College greenhouse during the 2020-2021 school year as part of our integrated efforts to increase the sustainability of our campus food system. The 26,000 square foot structure has nine bays and an automated environmental control system. In addition to growing space, there is classroom/event area and cold storage.
Students have many pathways to involvement in the greenhouse. They may enroll in a one-credit hands-on course dedicated to learning about greenhouse operations; other classes across the curriculum also integrate the greenhouse into their labs and problem-based learning activities. For those students seeking even more involvement, they may choose to pursue a capstone or research project involving the greenhouse. Additionally, there are paid greenhouse assistant positions; these student workers help with the day-to-day operations of the structure, including planting, harvesting, and tending crops.
In Fall 2020, the greenhouse is supplying campus dining services with fresh produce, including cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, and zucchini. We also donate fresh produce to two local food banks.