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Potatoes power greenhouse program

Federal Way School Board President Dave Larson and Superintendent Tom Murphy applaud as a representative from the Washington State Potato Commission hands over a check for $1,000 to Wildwood Elementary School to implement a greenhouse vegetable-growing program. - Margo Horner/The Mirror
Federal Way School Board President Dave Larson and Superintendent Tom Murphy applaud as a representative from the Washington State Potato Commission hands over a check for $1,000 to Wildwood Elementary School to implement a greenhouse vegetable-growing program.
— image credit: Margo Horner/The Mirror

By MARGO HORNER, The Mirror

Let there be potatoes.

Students at Wildwood Elementary School will have an abundance of potatoes on campus after receiving a greenhouse, potato seeds and a check for $1,000.

Five schools in Western Washington won the checks and greenhouses this year in a contest sponsored by the Washington State Potato Commission. More than 30 schools entered the contest, now in it’s third year.

Students at Wildwood submitted essays describing how much they would appreciate a greenhouse.

“It would help because if people don’t bring their lunch, they can get vegetables and other food,” one student’s essay stated. “It will help others if they don’t have that much money and food.”

Other essays focused on the value of a greenhouse as a source for healthy snacks.

“The whole idea is education of farm-to-table, educating kids on where food comes from,” said Cinde Ennis, a spokeswoman for the potato commission.

“They, of course, want to promote that potatoes are nutritious,” Ennis added.

There are more than 250 potato farmers in Washington state who support the contest.

Students at Wildwood will use the greenhouse and funds to plant a variety of vegetables including the potatoes.

By the end of this school year, they hope to grow enough vegetables to make a soup, said Ta Sukovaty, a fifth-grade teacher who helped students enter the contest.

“We thought it would be good to know how to grow stuff,” said fifth-grader Sekile Fundisha-Bey, whose favorite vegetable is zucchini.

“We wanted to get some more education about healthy foods and stuff,” said Miriam Prieto-Vital, whose favorite vegetable is lettuce.

Federal Way School District Superintendent Tom Murphy said he was enthusiastic about the greenhouse.

“This is exciting. I think this is fun. I’m glad that the schools get recognized for the good work that they do,” Murphy said. “I’m really happy for the kids and I’m happy for Wildwood.”

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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