CATEC was recently awarded a grant from Dominion Energy to create CATEC Culinary Commons!
The Culinary Commons will help students learn about growing their own food. It will feature six raised bed gardens, a greenhouse, an outdoor dining area, and an indoor hydroponics garden. The organic produce grown in the gardens will be used by CATEC’s Culinary Arts program. Next summer, CATEC also plans to offer a gardening camp, which will use the commons as an outdoor classroom.
This project will be a true team effort. Students from the Culinary Arts, Building Trades, and Electrical programs will work together to create the space. Building Trades students will build picnic tables for the outdoor dining area. Culinary Arts and Building Trades students will work together to build the raised bed gardens and assemble the greenhouse. Electrical students will wire grow lights in the greenhouse and assemble the indoor hydroponic system.
By creating both an indoor hydroponics garden and an outdoor, traditional garden, Culinary Arts students will be able to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of the two systems. They will compost food scraps to use for fertilizer and create a truly organic garden. They will also learn about the benefits of farm-to-table cooking!