Over 150 people turned out this past Saturday for the open house of a new deep winter greenhouse at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf. The deep winter initiative was made possible by the U. of M. Extension’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) and supported by dozens of area organizations, businesses and community volunteers.
This greenhouse, one of five created through this RSDP project, uses passive solar energy stored in an underground thermal mass that will limit the amount of fossil fuel required to grow crops in our climate. The greenhouse provides a learning laboratory for farmers, gardeners, energy experts, builders and businesses seeking a year-round source of fresh sustainable greens.
The diverse and enthusiastic participation at the open house and ribbon cutting included 60-some U. of M.-Crookston students. Greg Schweser, RSDP Director of Sustainable Agirculture and Food Systems; Dan Handeen, Research Fellow at the UMN Center for Sustainable Building Research; and Hanna Klemm, Farm Manager of the Food Shelf, shared their knowledge and expertise. Sue Wika and Tom Prieve of Paradox Farm and SFA Deep Roots gave planting demonstrations.
What makes this deep winter greenhouse unique is that it will provide a variety of lettuces, herbs, brassicas, Asian greens, and sprouts to Bemidji Community Food Shelf clients who otherwise often lack a source of fresh vegetables.
SFA leaders and producers like Sue and Tom and Carol Ford are on the ground floor of deep winter greenhouse creation. To learn more, attend RSDP’s next demonstration from 1 to 4 p.m. Sun., Oct. 29, at the John & Brooke Knisley farm in Madelia. Also, our SFA Annual Conference on Feb. 10, 2018, will include a workshop led by Sue on deep winter greenhouse construction and production.