Starting this winter, however, Olsen plans to move the operation to Warren Tech, where the three-acre farm will yield much more than tomatoes, kale and cucumbers for the restaurant. "Basically, we're helping students build an agricultural farm on their property," says Olsen, who learned of the underutilized facilities through his brother Nate Olsen, a STEM teacher at the school.Olsen is already making use of greenhouses that were built by the school but have been neglected for years, and has planted peach, plum and apricot trees. This winter, crops will be planted to reflect the needs of both the restaurant and the school's existing culinary program. The partnership is still in the early stages -- Olsen had just returned from a meeting the day I caught up with him -- but he mentions everything from the possibility of a new agricultural class to community gardens to "getting Theo over to the culinary program." The farm is expected to run like a CSA, with produce divided among the restaurant and other shareholders, including faculty, students and their families.
"One of the main goals of this property is ... to bring in revenue for STEM and environmental science," says Olsen, who adds that the new agricultural program should eventually "reduce/sustain their budgets."
Here's hoping that everything comes up roses -- or at least radishes.