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Growing more than greens: educating the community at local farm

Matthew Schinsing first noticed the Gyo Greens farm when he attended a nearby middle school, driving past it every day. When he entered a research-based science class at Episcopal High School years later, Schinsing had a reason to visit: his interest in research and sustainable agriculture. His friend, Natalie Bryant, connected him with the Gyo Greens staff, and soon, he had an opportunity to conduct a science project involving plant science at the farm during his senior year. 

This type of partnership is at the heart of Gyo Greens, an aquaponics farm off Canal Boulevard that opened in 2014. At the end of this year, the farm will celebrate 10 years since Gyo Greens owner Helga Tan Fellows purchased the land with the garden/education vision in mind. 

“It is amazing that after all these years, we still have the same principles and mission,” said Tan Fellows. “Education is the reason we are still around. We keep learning through our students and their endless curiosity and questions. We also learn via our customers, who keep us challenged to consistently deliver top quality, natural and organic produce. In exchange, we teach all of them about the importance of sustainable farming and our precious environment.” 

In January, Gyo Greens became a nonprofit organization with the hopes of raising funds through donations and events to expand its educational outreach programs. The farm, which uses no pesticides or chemicals, sits on one acre and includes a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse. In addition to education, Gyo Greens Farm also delivers produce to about 30 local restaurants, using a rafting system to ensure that chefs get the freshest ingredients. Produce arrives “live” and is grown at each chef’s request. All profits go right back into the farm, said Tan Fellows. 

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