Homegrown Farms contains 52 acres of rich organic farmland planted with 2 acres of mixed vegetables such as potatoes, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and beans, and 50 acres of row crops such as dry beans, sunflowers, buckwheat, and corn. The mixed vegetable crops are grown for the school kitchen to be prepared for meals for all Genesee Lake School students and staff. On average, Homegrown Farms provides the GLS kitchen with nearly 9000 pounds of fresh vegetables from May through December. In partnership with a local farmer, Homegrown Farms also raises black beans, pinto beans, and sunflowers, which our students process directly from the plant, to be ready for sale or kitchen use.
Spring comes early at the Homegrown Farms greenhouse as students assist in planting hanging baskets, 4” pots, and 6 packs of 75 different varieties of annuals and perennials from February through April. These products are sold at Homegrown Farms retail huts in the community and through wholesale accounts. Perennial and annual flower gardens are planted and maintained by students during the growing season. These artistic displays offer not only beauty, but an opportunity for students to create and sell cut flower arrangements.
Hydroponics is the art of growing plants without soil, with their roots suspended directly into water with no growing medium. This is how Homegrown Farms grows cucumbers, spinach, and lettuce during the winter months. Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines an aquaculture system (raising aquatic animals such as fish) with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. This system allows Homegrown Farms to produce lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, and fish year round. Homegrown Farms uses both systems, and students are involved in all aspects of each, from cleaning and planting through maintenance and harvest.
Homegrown Farms offers the opportunity for students to learn about the care of our resident goats and chickens. The goats help our students learn to maintain and care for larger animals, while the chickens are used for care and egg production for the GLS kitchen. Interaction with the animals helps to teach our students about compassion for all living things and the importance of responsibility. The farm’s honey bee hives, along with additional hives kept by a local beekeeper on-site, are host to over a million honey bees that pollinate our vegetables and local wildflowers as well as produce the farm’s own Homegrown Honey.