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Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Bill Strickland: Flower Power (page 2 of 2)

by Charlie Nardozzi

Hydroponic Tomatoes

Buoyed by his success with orchids, Bill has now turned his attention to the possibility of turning vacant industrial sites in the Pittsburgh area into hydroponic tomato-production facilities. Modeled after the orchid facility, these greenhouses would provide fresh tomatoes for the Pittsburgh area, grown by students. The hydroponic tomato operation is still in the experimentation stage at the Drew Mathieson Center for Horticultural and Agricultural Technology, but Bill hopes that soon it will begin commercial production.

It's About the Kids

You'd think it would be easy to get lost in the operations of the vocational and visual arts programs and orchid and tomato production, but Bill has never forgotten the driving reason for all these enterprises. It's all about changing impoverished kids' lives, one at a time. "There's one young man who was a poor kid from the neighborhood. He started ceramics classes in 7th grade and got so turned on that he went to college, became a Fulbright Scholar, and now has a Ph.D.," says Bill.

The student's life was turned around, just like Bill's, because someone cared. These programs offer a ray of hope to hundreds of kids in the inner city.

For more information on the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the Bidwell Training Center, go to their Web sites at:

Photographs by Richard Kelly, Pittsburgh Magazine

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