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High Tunnel of Hope

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PITTSBURG, KANSAS -

"I can grab peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, avacados, and all sorts of different veggies and fruits. There were even pineapples today," said Devina Reetz.

Reetz sometimes turns to Wesley House in Pittsburg to put food on the table, and she says the charity's partnership with the Career & Technical Education Center of Crawford County has made a huge impact on how she feeds her loved ones.

"It makes me feel very blessed that I can come here and get fresh food. I also get food stamps which is very limiting so it's nice to get fresh garden veggies and sometimes even some fruit," said Reetz.

Those fruits and veggies are coming from the CTEC high tunnel which functions similarly to a green house. The high tunnel was donated to CTEC by K State, and CTEC decided they could use it to help Crawford County in more ways than one.

"I'm trying to teach the kids to have a good respect for plants and for nature, and to learn this life skill which is growing your own food," said instructor Julie Ramage.

CTEC brought in Julie Ramage, the general manager of the Van Becelaera Greenhouse, to teach students how to grow food and garden correctly. Now, students learn a priceless skill while producing healthy food for some of Crawford County's most vulnerable members. The vast majority of the produce grown here goes straight to Wesley house, with more than 500 pounds donated in 2018 so far.

"To see their faces when they get the fresh potatoes and tomatoes and peppers and things to that nature. They're absolutely delighted about it. So we love this partnership," said Wesley House Executive Director Marcee Binder.

If you're interested in learning how to garden, check out CTEC's high tunnel class. Anybody can enroll through Fort Scott Community College.

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