Westerlay Orchids donates $14,000 to Canalino School

Westerlay Orchids donates $14,000 to Canalino School

Staff report

For Westerlay Orchids, the ninth annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour was as much about cultivating young minds as showing off the alluring plants grown in its state-of-the-art greenhouse.

Proceeds from all retail sales made throughout the week at Westerlay will be directed into the classrooms of Canalino Elementary School. President Toine Overgaag said supporting public education and youth organizations is a long-held value of the family business.

“The annual Carpinteria Greenhouse and Nursery Tour are about showcasing farm operations that are so important in the community. We wanted to take that message a step further by supporting our schools in a way that benefits those who are most fundamental to the community, teachers and students,” Overgaag said.

Westerlay will donate 100 percent of its proceeds ($14,276) earned through showroom sales between March 27 and April 1 to Carpinteria Education Foundation (CEF), the nonprofit fundraising partner of the Carpinteria Unified School District.

CEF will administer the money to Canalino Elementary School, where it will be used to fund art programs through the Children’s Creative Project.

“The students at Canalino will greatly benefit from Westerly Orchids’ donation through enrichment programs for the arts. Programs such as these have long fallen from public education budgets, making benefactors like Westerlay vital to bringing visual, theater, and musical arts to our students to give them a well-rounded education,” Canalino Principal Jamie Persoon said.

Westerlay was founded in Carpinteria in 1978 by Joe and Lucy Overgaag, who emigrated from the Netherlands. Starting in 2003, the company transitioned to orchid cultivation and now operates 21 acres of greenhouses that annually produce more than  2.5 million potted phalaenopsis and cymbidium orchids that are distributed throughout the Western United States and beyond.