Green Team plants orchard to provide food for others

Mr. Witters and the Green Team check out the new fruit trees in the orchard.

Jamie Pellikaan, Opinion Editor

Wondering what’s up with all the trees? A new orchard has been planted by students that will have a lasting presence.

Assisted by Green Team with cooperation by Environmental Science and Horticulture classes, Jeff Witters, science teacher, is in charge of maintaining both the orchard and greenhouse and is also the faculty advisor for Green Team.

“It was when we [Green Team and Environmental Science] went to an event at Johnson County Community College and toured their edible landscape. We investigated what it takes to have one of our own and decided to plant an orchard,” Witters said.

The food being grown in the gardens, orchard, and green house varies from apples and raspberries to chard and lettuce.

Witters said, “We wanted to diversify, and fruits are things everybody likes.”

Green Team hopes that in the future, the food grown will be given to those who need it here.

“This year we’ve been focusing on growing the food. Next year we will focus on finding effective ways to get the food in to our communities,” Witters said.

Despite their goal being far away, Green Team still remains hopeful for the future.

“It’s a sign of our hard work and dedication,” Johnson Poon, junior, said.

Also, the students on Green Team learn valuable skills from having hands-on experience with gardening and growing food.

“Students gain practical skills and, as crazy as it sounds, I have kids who now know how to use a shovel,” Witters said.

Not only do they gain the knowledge of gardening, but they also gain the knowledge of working on a team.

“I learned a lot about teamwork and cooperation,” Poon said, “and this has made me realize all the great ways a group of people can impact the community.”

The orchard and the food still need time to grow before Green Team implements its end game.

Poon said, “I can’t wait to see what our orchard will become in the next five years.”