Willmar High School

2701 30th St. NE , Willmar, MN 56201
Willmar YES Team
Robert Palmer, palmerr@willmar.k12.mn.us, 320-231-8441

Willmar Community Greenhouse

Biomass, Community engagement, Energy conservation, Local food, Solar power, Transportation

We are growing produce year round. We avoid heating the greenhouse with the existing natural gas furnace by using solar thermal panels and a biomass burner with in floor water tubing for heat. By growing produce locally, we are also hoping to reduce the fuel burned by trucks importing food to Willmar.

There have been over 50 Willmar Senior High students directly involved with the project since it started in 2007. There have also been over 20 students from the Prairie Lakes Youth program science classes and another 12 from Willmar Public School’s Service Learning Classes that have been involved with the community greenhouse.

Economic benefits of this project include promoting and fostering markets for locally grown produce as well as for local garden and soil supplements.
We are also modeling reduction of fossil fuel consumption to heat a building by :
1. insulating the greenhouse.
2. using water buckets as thermal mass to retain heat.
3. limiting our production to growing cold weather crops.
4. Using free solar input from the sun passively, as well as in thermal collectors.

We decreased fossil fuel consumption and therefore combustion emissions through our hybrid heating system’s use of solar and biomass. Through arrangements with Sunrise Agra Biofuels and Carmike Cinema, we are also demonstrating use of local biomass resources.
We also only use sustainable fertilizers and soil media instead of synthetic. This includes using coconut coir instead of peat moss, to help preserve peatlands. We also apply the ash from our biomass burner as a soil supplement.

-reduce energy consumption in the local food supply by promoting and producing locally grown produce.
-provide fresh winter produce and local food education to foodshelves, schools, and other food sellers/preparers.

MnSCC Grant!

Green building

MINNESOTA SCHOOLS CUTTING CARBON PROJECT
GRANT REPORT 1
Willmar Public School
Project Title: Willmar Community Greenhouse Expansion This is our first report regarding the Schools Cutting Carbon Grant that was awarded to the Willmar High School Youth Energy Summit team as part of their Community Greenhouse project. We have been growing and providing fresh produce for Willmar Public Schools, individuals, and the Willmar Area Food Shelf all year.

Project goal: We will increase sustainability and decrease fossil fuel dependence of our greenhouse project by expanding production, and improving harvest and delivery.

We are pleased to report positive progress toward our first goal of expanding production, heat retention, and thermal mass by increasing the number of planting beds. Our original design was modified to allow for more growing space when we decided to insulate the north wall using reflective plastic sheeting (donated by David Frye) and the existing frame. We were unable to secure funding for travel to other greenhouses, but several students did online and book research along with professional consultations to come up with our current design.
We have purchased the construction materials for our beds as well as 2 – 300 gallon tanks for thermal mass. We did receive a donation of used landscape timbers, which we are reusing as supports for the new beds. In March we built a suspended growing shelf in the west wing to hold our recycled gutter planters. The prototype planting bed was also completed in March, and our first complete bed is nearly finished. Saturday April 17th, we presented our project at Prairie Wood’s Earth Day celebration, and hosted a community open house from 10-2. Over 50 people attended our open house and enjoyed fresh produce harvested from the greenhouse and prepared by Heglund’s Catering.

The graphs included in this report show temperature, relative humidity, and light intensity profiles. Additional data loggers and temperature probes will be ordered in August.

We hired two students that served as greenhouse managers from March – June. Henry Bielenberg and CJ Dafoe helped with harvest and delivery of produce. They also coordinated a compost pick up and delivery from the Willmar Municipal Compost site in April. We are currently working with Nutritionist Annette Derouin to hire a Willmar Public School Food Service employee part time during the school year to coordinate harvest and delivery schedules.

A bike and 2 trailers have been ordered for us to haul our produce to market with and make deliveries.

In April, we purchased 1 pound of worms and a new vermiculture container to produce more heat and soil supplement for the greenhouse. Heat generated by vermiculture will help maintain more consistent growing conditions. The worms also break down waste generated onsite, which is then recycled into an excellent soil supplement.

Ashley Thorpe, a local 4Her, developed a greenhouse educational program through the MinnWest Daycare. The volunteers involved engaged an average of 10 daycare students in the greenhouse project every Monday afternoon for 2 hours this summer. Students learned gardening skills as well as energy conservation.

Budget Update
Subtask Grant funds budgeted Grant funds used Grant funds remaining
labor $900 $279.13 $620.87
material $4,100 $4,100 0
Totals $5,000 $4,379.13 $620.87

This project could not have continued as successfully without the Schools Cutting Carbon Grant. Thank you for supporting our project.

Local Foods at Willmar

Local food

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MINNESOTA SCHOOLS CUTTING CARBON PROJECT
GRANT REPORT 2
Willmar Public School
Project Title: Willmar Community Greenhouse Expansion
This is our second report regarding the Schools Cutting Carbon
Grant that was awarded to the Willmar High School Youth Energy
Summit team as part of their Community Greenhouse project. We
have been growing and providing fresh produce for Willmar Public
Schools, individuals, and the Willmar Area Food Shelf all year.
Project goal: We will increase sustainability and decrease fossil
fuel dependence of our greenhouse project by expanding
production, and improving harvest and delivery.
We are pleased to report positive progress toward our first goal of
expanding production by building new planting beds, which also
increased heat retention, and thermal mass. In collaboration with
the Willmar School District’s Nutrition Services and Kandiyohi
County’s Statewide Health Improvement Program, we hired a new
part time greenhouse coordinator position. We will also be
reinstalling the insulation along the north wall using reflective plastic sheeting (donated by David Frye).
In March 2010, we built a suspended growing shelf in the
west wing to hold our recycled gutter planters. The prototype
planting bed was also completed in March. Our two new
planting beds were finished. Saturday April 17th, 2010 we
presented our project at Prairie Wood’s Earth Day celebration,
and hosted a community open house. Over 50 people
attended our open house and enjoyed fresh produce harvested
from the greenhouse and prepared by Heglund’s Catering.
The graphs attached to this report show temperature, relative
humidity, and light intensity profiles. The solid black temperature lines are the indoor air temperature. The
dotted temperature line in the East Wing is from a probe in the heated water storage tank, and in the West
Wing is from a probe buried in a worm bin. Hoboware software has also calculated the growing days.
Installng
insulation
and gutter
shelf in
the West
Wing
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We hired two students that served as greenhouse managers
from March – June 2010. They helped with harvest and
delivery of produce. They also coordinated a compost pick
up and delivery from the Willmar Municipal Compost site
in April 2010.
We bought a Team Dual tricycle and a bike trailer in
July 2010. We hauled produce to market and made
deliveries with it as well as rode it in a community
parade. We rode the bike for about 50 total miles.
In April 2010, we purchased 1 pound of Red Wiggler worms
and a new vermiculture container to produce more heat and
soil supplement for the greenhouse. We have also purchased
material to build additional worm bins. Heat generated by
vermiculture will help maintain more consistent growing
conditions. The worms also break down waste generated
onsite, which is then recycled into an excellent soil
supplement.
Ashley Thorpe, a local 4Her, developed a greenhouse
educational program through the MinnWest Daycare.
The volunteers involved engaged an average of 10
daycare students in the greenhouse project every
Monday afternoon for 2 hours from June-August
2010. Students learned gardening skills as well as
energy conservation. The picture to the left is a
flower garden planted and maintained by the 4Hers.
We also hired 4 students to work in the greenhouse
gardens and local farmer’s market.
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We purchased 2 60 gallon rain barrels in June
2010. They provided over 500 gallons for our
outdoor gardens in 2010. During the winter they
are brought indoors and filled to provide the
greenhouse with additional thermal mass.
Our biggest challenge this year has been our
heating system. We have already had 3 of our
circulating pumps burn out. We are in the process
of seeking funds to help redesign and rebuild our
in floor heat system.
Budget Update
Subtask Grant funds
budgeted
Grant funds
used
Grant funds
remaining
labor $700 $643 $57
material $4,300 $4,300 0
Totals $5,000 $4,700 $300
This project could not have continued as successfully without the Schools Cutting Carbon Grant. Thank you
for supporting our project.
Respectfully submitted,
Robert Palmer, Science Teacher, Willmar Senior High
2701 30th St. NE, Willmar, MN 56201
phone: 320-231-8300 ext.8441 fax: 320-231-8460 email: palmerr@willmar.k12.mn.us
Check out our energy saving project: http://www.willmar.k12.mn.us/srhigh/content/greenhouse-project
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Planting beds designed and drawn by Aaron Larson.
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Planting beds designed and drawn by Aaron Larson.