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Case Study: Community Educational Greenhouse

Case Study: Community Educational Greenhouse

“The greenhouse has been a gateway for many young adults, teens, and kids alike, to have a space that can be utilized as a place of learning and community.”

In 2016, the City of Mishawaka entered into a partnership with the School City of Mishawaka to utilize a small “greenhouse” located on the 2nd floor of Mishawaka High School. They were allowed access to the room to grow plant material for the City and in return offered an after school program aimed at engaging students in horticulture and various landscaping practices. This greenhouse was approximately 500 square feet and was used as storage for a majority of the Science Departments' equipment allowing for only a small corner for the students' garden club.

With limited space, access to water, and heating issues they needed to expand outward and construct a new meeting place for the program.

The greenhouse project was created and planned out by the nine members of the 2018 Landscape & Garden Club at Mishawaka High School with the guidance of the Mishawaka Parks Department.

The Community Education Greenhouse has picnic tables and raised beds by the entrance for outdoor learning.

In 2018, the City of Mishawaka Parks and Recreation Department launched a crowdfunding campaign with the goal to raise $23,000 to build a greenhouse. The campaign raised $29,108 from 77 community patrons. By reaching their crowdfunding goal, the project unlocked a matching grant from the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority's CreatINg Places program.

With the funds they raised, the club purchased a 1,200 square foot greenhouse kit for the project and that came with all of the supplies needed to operate classes year round with students and residents of Mishawaka. The greenhouse can accommodate up to 25 people at a time making it ideal for the Landscape & Garden Club and educational programs for the community!

“The greenhouse has been a gateway for many young adults, teens, and kids alike, to have a space that can be utilized as a place of learning and community.”
The greenhouse surrounded by landscaping and flowers.

The Impact

Retaining Talent

By engaging high school students to lead the project and empowering them to grow and maintain the plants, many of these young people are staying in the region. Not only have students been inspired to pursue careers in agriculture, but one student has started a local plant business. Creating the connection to place is helping retain local talent and create civic engagement opportunities.

Sustainability and Conservation

Several conservation oriented groups use this space as a platform to teach the public about native plants, pollinators, and important conservation goals.

Food Access and Healthy Habits

Unity Gardens, a local gardening agency aimed at education and providing affordable and fresh produce, offers classes free to the public utilizing the space to help educate the community on the importance of growing produce at home.

Students gather around the greenhouse with pride having participated in making it happen.