THE Greenhouse

grnhouse-jan2014THE Greenhouse Project has partnered with Schaus Vorhies of Fairfield to put together a small food production hoop house for local schools. The project is located at 1000 W. Stone Street in Fairfield.

The purpose of the Farm to School Greenhouse is three-fold:

Production: 100% of the food produced in the greenhouse will be sold to the public schools. Crops grown will reflect the needs of the school lunch menus. Summer production will be based on attendance at summer feeding programs and focused mainly on harvest times during the school year.

Education: This is a research facility. The temperature control system is based on readings from 15 thermometers strategically placed throughout the facility. Readings are automatically recorded every 10 minutes to an online system. ANYONE can look at the temperatures in the greenhouse if they have internet access. The link is:

greenhouse-logoEnergy: We are partnering with Schaus Vorhies Kleaning to use their waste heat to heat the greenhouse facility. We have designed a system that collects heat from an air duct system which flows through their air-cleaning bag house: transfers it into water moving through the HOT air, and stores it in a large underground tank, for use in the greenhouse soil.

The project was started with help from a USDA Farm to School grant. Additional funding was required to meet the demands of winter production, research capabilities and a unique energy transfer system. Additional funding came from Alliant Energy's Bright Ideas grant, the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, Jefferson county Public Health & Community Transformation Grant, and the TransCanada Pipeline. Additional funding is still needed to complete the automation of the heating and watering systems. A hanging strawberry production system is also in the research stages. The addition of an environmental learning classroom could also increase the education capabilities of the facility.