BY KATIE MATTESON
If you’re one of the subscribers to Hoyer Homestead’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, the fresh produce you pick up from the farm or Reefpoint Marina on Saturday mornings during the summer, you’ve eaten vegetables grown by Ron and Lisa Stark on the Hoyer Homestead in Waterford.
What you may not know is that some of their arugula, lettuce and tomatoes are grown in their greenhouse using hydroponics – nutrient-rich water instead of soil.
And, the couple is active in teaching this sustainable growing practice to students of all ages and abilities. The master gardeners have taught school age kids and adults with no gardening experience, as well as their garden club friends.
They also provide a learning site for horticulture students from Shepherds College in Union Grove, which educates and trains students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
In January, they’re taking their show on the road to Guatemala to teach the students and staff of a girls school in Santa María de Jesús how to operate a greenhouse and they’re taking along one of their interns from Shepherds College.
For Isaac Dostal, 23, it will be both a learning experience and a homecoming.
American missionaries George and Kathy Dostal from Colorado adopted Isaac when he was 3. The Dostals met Issac while he was recuperating from severe malnutrition at a long term care facility in Antigua, Guatemala. They moved back to the United States when Issac was 8 so he could begin the long process of obtaining multiple surgeries for his cleft lip and palate.
The Starks learned about the horticultural mission project, along with plans to construct a greenhouse in the remote village of San Pedro el Cerro, from the Dostals, who continue to work for Mission Impact.
In addition to the Starks and Isaac, three other people who work on the farm will be going on the trip, including the Starks’ son Sean, who is a horticulture student at Gateway Technical College, Natasha Meyers, an archeology student who has applied for a PhD program and gone on a dig in Peru and her mother, Dena McQueen, as well as Alice Thomson, a registered dietitian and nurse, former co-worker and friend of Lisa Stark.
You see, Lisa is also a registered dietitian, associate professor and Dietetic Internship Program Director at Mount Mary University.
Another part of the mission trip for Lisa and Alice is to teach diabetes and hypertension management and handwashing classes, conduct blood pressure and diabetes screenings and distribute reading glasses, soap and toothbrushes. Their hope is to take students from Mount Mary on future trips.
So, the group will head out on Jan. 12 for their nine-day adventure and return on Jan. 20.
They’re seeking donations of gift cards from discount stores or monetary donations to purchase reading glasses, medical and school supplies, cloth cases for the glasses, and to offset the cost of greenhouse supplies and travel expenses.
To help, contact Ron Stark at (262) 492-2989 or email@example.com. To obtain a tax receipt, checks may be made out to Mission Impact with c/o 2019 Stark Team in the memo section and sent to:
2019 Stark Team
℅ Mission Impact
PO Box 45797
Madison, WI 53744-5797