Bozone Ozone Bus

By Marilyn Bruce

What is educational but fun for kids, metal on the outside, alive on the inside, new but still recycled, and mobile on April 19?

It’s the Bozone Ozone Bus, and trust me, this is not your average bus.

The Bozone Ozone Bus (BOB) is fully operational thanks to the efforts and inspiration of Bozeman’s youth via the Bozeman Youth Initiative (BYI).

BOB is a greenhouse on wheels, an idea that grew out of a conversation between BYI director, Greg Owens, and a local student. From an unlikely concept, Bozeman’s youth have once again proven that nothing is impossible for those who dream big. A greenhouse bus that can travel around and educate our entire community, from kids to adults? Why not?

The mission for the bus, run on bio diesel, is to educate youth about important environmental issues such as sustainability and alternative energy and to simultaneously “encourage youth-to-youth mentorship.”

While these are the written goals for the bus, BOB will undoubtedly have a much greater impact on kids, food and environmental efforts.

For example, by developing a healthy relationship with fresh fruits and vegetables, children and later adults, can be learn to be fit, healthy and happy.

Even the bus’ journey to become BOB has had unforeseen effects. The bus has united such groups as the Montana Outdoor Science School, MSU Horticulture Club, Gallatin Valley Farm-to-School, Bozeman High School (BHS) recycling club, Hawk Tawk and TV, Irving School and even the BHS metal shop class. It’s a big bus with very big potential.

Support BOB: Shop at the Co-op on April 23

The Bozone Ozone Bus is the recipient of this month’s 4% day grant at the Co-op. The bus project will receive 4% of the Co-op’s total sales on Friday, April 23. Shop at the Co-op on this day, and your grocery dollars will directly support this great community project!

Funds will go towards important planting materials, such as cups and soil, storage and maintenance and will also pay for the bus’ travel so that hosts do not have to pay. These travels will include the bus’ maiden trek as a “pizza bus.”

The bus will travel in the spring to local schools to plant tomatoes, basil, cilantro, peppers and other key pizza ingredients, and in the fall these ingredients will be harvested so local schools can have a fresh take on the traditional pizza party.

As BOB tours the local scene this summer, older and younger generations of kids will bond over locally grown, fresh food. Stay updated on the bus and upcoming events and tours by visiting the Bozeman Youth Initiative website.

You might have to see it to believe it, but this bus continues to prove the indefatigable nature of youth’s inspiration.