Local greenhouse built for new school program

By Madeline Otten

Lafayette School of Troy joined forces with the Building Goodness Foundation, the Darden Board Fellows, and the Blue Ridge Bank on Saturday, May 1, and created a new space of learning – a greenhouse – for the school’s students.

This greenhouse will allow students to immerse themselves in the mechanics of growing their own food since the program will teach students about cultivating and eating nutritious foods. Produce will also be sent home to families and any surplus will be sent to local charities and food banks such as MACAA.

“This will be a continuous program and added to the school’s curriculum,” said Lafayette Program Counselor Chad O’Brien. “Students will also learn about mineral compounds and the different soils used, which will give us a full-time hands-on experience.”

This was the first greenhouse constructed by the Building Goodness Foundation. “The students are really excited for the greenhouse,” said Executive Director Jen O’Malley. “There was information about kids coming to school hungry and we thought, ‘how can we do more for them?’ This greenhouse is another source that we can provide for our students.”

The Lafayette School submitted an application to the C’ville Builds program with Building Goodness Foundation, which works with businesses that are struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic;, nonprofit organizations that are working for racial justice, and low-income homeowners who have urgent home repair needs. Applications are reviewed and then once selected the project details begin.

“We look at the missions of the organization, in this case the Lafayette School, and the capacity to help since we do not want to compete with local businesses,” said Executive Director of Building Goodness Foundation Courtney Polk. “Every project is unique, some are small and done in one day, while others are not. And this partnership will help support the local community, health, and it is a great way to get kids learning about healthy lifestyles.”

In addition to Building Goodness Foundation, Coco Woeltz is a part of the Darden Board Fellows which brought Lafayette School into partnership with Building Goodness Foundation to create the greenhouse.

The Lafayette School was established in August of 1999 and is a special needs therapeutic day school. The school serves children and adolescents with emotional disability, behavioral disturbances, and/or mental illness.  The school is located near Zion Crossroads, right on Rt. 250 (103 Zion Station Road, Troy, Virginia, 22974), and its philosophy is that all students have the capacity for learning and growth, regardless of their disability.

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