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Olive-Harvey College breaks ground on hemp greenhouse for cannabis education program

The college’s urban agriculture program will use the 1,500-square-foot greenhouse to give students hands-on experience in the hemp-growing industry.

Faculty and local leaders break ground on Thursday, April 22, 2021 on the new location of the future hemp greenhouse at Olive-Harvey College for its cannabis education program.
Faculty and local leaders break ground Thursday on the new location of the future hemp greenhouse at Olive-Harvey College.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Olive-Harvey College marked Earth Day on Thursday by breaking ground on a new greenhouse for growing hemp.

The college’s urban agriculture program will use the 1,500-square-foot greenhouse to give students hands-on experience — and a path to careers in the booming legal cannabis industry.

Students will use hemp from the greenhouse to make a variety of commercial and industrial products.

“As the cannabis industry continues to expand, industry experts have shared that optimal growing happens in greenhouse environments,” Kimberly Hollingsworth, president of Olive-Harvey College, said in a statement.

“Building this greenhouse and offering tactile training will help our students get a leg up in this profitable growth industry.”

Kimberly Hollingsworth, Olive-Harvey College president, spoke at the greenhouse groundbreaking on Thursday, April 22, 2021. Olive-Harvey is part of the City Colleges of Chicago system.
Kimberly Hollingsworth, Olive-Harvey College president, spoke at the greenhouse groundbreaking on Thursday. Olive-Harvey is part of the City Colleges of Chicago system.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Students in the college’s cannabis dispensary operations specialist program learn about the history, culture, law and regulation of cannabis, and prepare to work in licensed dispensaries or pursue other careers in the cannabis industry.

“It transformed my career trajectory,” said Angelique Nieves, who recently earned a certificate in the program and spoke at the groundbreaking.

“This greenhouse is sure to inspire other students to learn by doing because it puts theory literally in the hands of the student.”

Construction on the greenhouse is expected to be completed this fall at the college, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Fake hemp plants sit on a table outside Olive-Harvey College during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new hemp greenhouse.
Fake hemp plants sit on a table outside Olive-Harvey College during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new hemp greenhouse.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times