Howard University > Alternative Spring Break 2012
Keneisha Deas  
By Keneisha Deas
Howard University News Service



ASB Participants Make Local High School Students’ Greenhouse “Greener”

By Keneisha Deas
Howard University News Service

DETROIT (March 13) – On an unseasonably warm day, with the sun shining, hardly a cloud in the sky and just weeks after a light snow dusted the city, Howard University Alternative Spring Break (ASB) participants were helping local high school students plant fruit trees and vegetables at their newly constructed greenhouse.

Nearly 50 Howard students are in Detroit this week as part of a service project to help underserved communities. One of their projects is Highland Park High School, where students are trying to create a more eco-friendly environment through Project Greenhouse.

They plan to produce an array of vegetables, like tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, squash and peas, and grow fruit trees; specifically, apple and peach.

The greenhouse is the brainchild of Distributed Power, an organization that hopes to produce fresh fruits and vegetables in Detroit neighborhoods while educating young people and community members on urban farming, gardening and the benefits of local food.

Scott Meloeny is CEO of Distributed Power.  Besides Highland Park High School, Distributed Power has also worked with Detroit Edison Public Academy and Michigan State University in developing their eco-friendly environments.

“In urban areas, it is a challenge to access healthy foods,” Meloeny said. “Planting trees is an opportunity for students to see and experience production in their backyard.”

Cheryl Martin, a student support specialist at Highland Park High School, said she is excited about what could come from the greenhouse project.

“Project Greenhouse is totally new for the kids,” Martin said as she watched Howard and Highland Park students work together.  “I am trying to get them motivated to get involved. It is exposing them to the root of where the fruits and vegetables come from.”

Most of the students, Martin said, go the grocery store, pick out their produce, but have little knowledge of how it is grown.  Project Greenhouse will help the students become more aware of how their foods are made and make them more conscious of what they consume, she said.

Asti Marie Keeling, a junior at the high school, is one of the students working in the greenhouse.

“It helps me eat a better diet,” Keeling said as she worked with her mentor for the week, Toni Franklin, a sophomore at Howard.  “Now I eat healthier.”

Tony R. Johnson, site coordinator for ASB in Detroit, said he thinks Project Greenhouse is a great opportunity for the school.

“Having a greenhouse on the property establishes the foundation of service in such a way that it recycles the school’s resources,” Johnson said.  “Providing the opportunity for students to cultivate and harvest their produce creates a greater sense of self and unity.”

For more information on the efforts to make the Highland Park greener, visit

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