Goodman Community Center | "Lettuce" Share A Transition Academy…

"Lettuce" Share A Transition Academy Tradition

A 10-year relationship with Olbrich Gardens continues with a handful of lettuce seeds.

April 11, 2023 |
Transition Academy students DJ and Nathan holding their pads of lettuce seeds that will be harvested later in the spring.

Our programs have a plethora of different traditions that offer new experiences along with connection to years past. MMSD’s Transition Academy, an alternative high school program that utilizes the first floor of our Brassworks building, has one such tradition.

Every spring since 2013, Transition Academy students have taken the short bus ride from Goodman to Olbrich Botanical Gardens to plant lettuce.

Why lettuce? It grows fast! Once planted and placed in Olbrich’s designated greenhouse, it takes about six weeks for the tiny seeds to turn into full heads of lettuce. When the lettuce is ready for harvesting, the group will return to Olbrich to receive the fruit (or, in this case, vegetable) of their labor.

This decade long relationship initially started when Olbrich gardener Erin Presley came to Goodman looking for a place to drop off vegetables for the food pantry. The one-time drop-off turned into years of partnership, not just with Transition Academy but with many Goodman teens. Prior to the pandemic, Erin connected a garden enthused youth with a paid summer internship at Olbrich, and last year worked with another student as a garden volunteer.

Beyond getting to plant and harvest their own veggies, Erin and fellow Olbrich gardener, Lee, showed students DJ and Nathan some of the behind-the-scenes action, and let everyone walk through the conservatory and special seed exhibit.

Did you know that Olbrich has multiple kinds of greenhouses? Each are designed to create the best environment for the plants to thrive. Olbrich even has a whole greenhouse completely dedicated to their many kinds of orchids!

Erin, Lee and Keith—who, between his experience as a science teacher, a gardener and a lover of Olbrich, is a plant expert himself—gave the students and accompanying Goodman staff a beautiful afternoon full of color, life and beautiful plants.

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