Rural Missouri - June 2017 - 25
Top left: Seeds are placed into horticubes by an intern at Lettuce Dream. Top right: Lettuce Dream President Diane Francis,
center, shares a laugh with staff member Amy Gessert and intern Parker Schenkel. Above left: Intern Morgan Hawk tansplants
inside the greenhouse. Above: Charlie Clodfelter, right, and intern Trenton Kistler move a cart of horticubes.
Adds Diane: "I think customers know the differpassionate about the quality produce being grown.
"I'm real into the local food movement and food ence between something made locally and something that's not. It doesn't cost much more and
transparency," he says. "We're providmakes such a difference in our community."
ing them with a better product than
something that was shipped here
For the ﬁrst year, Amy and Charlie are
from who knows where. There's such
to have 20 interns in the program
a demand for local food in general right
with a goal of up to 50 annually as the
program grows. In addition to Amy,
now. We're positioned to take advantage
Charlie, board members and comThe team at Lettuce Dream grows
munity volunteers, service organizations from nearby Northwest MisAsian greens, micro greens, butterhead
souri State University volunteer at
lettuce, basil and other greens. "We're
trying to ﬁnd the right balance for what
"It's special when a college stupeople like in this area," Charlie says.
dent comes here and you can see their
"We've found that green-leaf lettuce is ﬁve
mind being changed as they work with the individutimes more in demand here than red-leaf lettuce."
Lettuce Dream has their own produce display at als with special needs," Diane says. "You can see
the Hy-Vee in Maryville with more grocery stores them enjoy their time and maybe have a different
coming on board. In addition to sales to local res- outlook when they leave."
Diane notes that knowledge and understanding
taurants, the Maryville Kawasaki plant partners
with Lettuce Dream to purchase their produce for ripples throughout the community once volunteers
leave the greenhouse or try their fresh produce.
an employee wellness program.
"I think we thrive on wanting to give people a pur"The entire community has been supportive,"
Charlie says. "When they buy from us, not only are pose," Diane says. "To know that we're all the same.
they getting a more local, transparent and better Some of us were just blessed with less obstacles in
product, but they're also supporting our cause and our path, but that doesn't mean we don't all have a
the nonproﬁt's mission of providing meaningful job- purpose and don't all belong."
training skills to our interns."
For more information on Lettuce Dream, call 660After transplanting, intern Parker Schenkel transports a row of 224-2203, visit www.lettucedream.org or email
plants to its location inside the 5,400-square-foot greenhouse.
JUNE 2017 | RURALMISSOURI.COOP