DES MOINES – At Des Moines Public Schools’ Central Campus AgriScience greenhouses, students learn hands-on what it takes to manage a greenhouse and plant shop.

Heidi Mandt, Central Campus’ AgriScience Program Instructor, said that she teaches all the basics to the students but tries to keep them as involved as possible.

“It really is student-run. We’re always constantly trying to make it more student involvement decision making all types of things flowing through the students,” Mandt said.

Students in the program learn all about plants’ biology and how to grow them. They also find out what goes into marketing and selling plants as a business.

Mandt said that the first-hand experience the students get is invaluable.

“Experiential learning I feel like is kind of like a buzzword in learning right now, but we are seeing that here and we’re seeing the benefits of it here,” Mandt said. “It’s not like hypothetical like if you were to own a business what were you what would you price your product at. We’re actually out here like looking at all the input costs, looking at the competition and deciding what a fair price is and that’s all the students we set it up and they make the decisions on it.”

The program has inspired students to go to study in agriculture fields.

Mary Arthur, a student in the program, is graduating this year and plans to study agriscience in college.

“I’m going to Northwest Missouri University for agronomy and minoring in horticulture and this class has really helped me find that passion because I didn’t know what I was doing beforehand,” Arthur said.

Arthur is in her third year of the program and is able to help new students learn the ropes.

“I love to lead the groups and teach them like how much dirt to put in not to overpack the pots and everything and how deep the seed should go and things like that,” said Arthur.

All of the plants that the students have been growing will be sold this spring during the program’s annual plant sale. All of the proceeds from the sale go back into the program.

The sale starts April 22nd and runs through May 21st. To learn more about the Central Campus AgriScience Program and the plant sale visit their website.