Growing A Dome: The Story of the Geodesic Grow Dome at the Community & School Farm in Salida, CO
One of the challenges Farm to School programs often face is that the growing season in many parts of the country, Salida included, is the opposite of the school year. Farm production is at its height through the late summer and fall, while school is in session through the winter months when little is growing in abundance. This means that while students can assist with planting in the Spring and see the fruits of their labor in the Fall, there is a long stretch where providing produce to a school lunch program or delivering hands-on garden education is less feasible. That’s where the grow dome comes in! A private family foundation recognized this discrepancy and provided funding to help Guidestone build a geodesic grow dome that can be used to close the gap between the growing season and the school year. The grow dome will be used to grow cold weather crops through the winter, provide healthy, fresh food to Salida School District students, and accommodate classrooms of students to participate in production and learning throughout the school year.
The week of August 5th saw both the construction of the exterior of their 42’ diameter geodesic grow dome at the Community & School Farm on Holman Avenue, and the raising of the timber frame of The Guidestone Barn at Hutchinson Ranch! They’ve raised almost half of the $50,000 in additional funds they need to further these projects along. But require additional donations to complete these amazing projects!
The Montezuma School to Farm Project unites our local agricultural heritage with our growing future by engaging students at the crossroads of sustainable agriculture, resource conservation, health, and economics through educational experiences in outdoor garden classes, on field trips, through youth farmers markets, and in summer farm camp. They help set-up Farm to School gardens for many communities in Southwest Colorado. In 2016, students from Montezuma School to Farm also had a unique opportunity to plant and harvest the White House kitchen garden with Michelle Obama! But their program is in trouble and needs more fundraising for seed orders, seed germination as well as growing winter produce in two high tunnels and a greenhouse.
Mountain Roots Food Project envisions a truly healthy community where people can thrive. Their endeavors are environmentally regenerative, economically viable, and socially just. Their programs include Farm to School, Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security, and Resilient Food Systems. They are also looking to raise money to help build a Growing Dome. At 7,700 ft., it is hard to grow food in the high desert climate of Gunnison, CO.
Together, we can foster a sustainable future.
Helping Children Succeed in Western North Carolina
Originally an orphanage, Eliada developed Foster Care programming when there was a nation-wide shift away from the traditional children’s home model. As mental health issues in children came into greater focus, Eliada also developed state of the art Residential Treatment Facilities and expanded Foster Care services to include Therapeutic Foster Care. As women entered the workforce, Eliada added childcare and preschool services. In Eliada’s recent history, they recognized that youth were aging out of Foster Care and failing in traditional post-secondary education. So the organization once again adapted to meet this community need with the Eliada Student’s Training for Advancement Program which provides workforce development programming for this population of youth.
Eliada built a 42-foot Growing Dome in January 2018 to supply Eliada’s commercial kitchen with 100% of the lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and cucumbers served to children and youth 365 days/year. It includes a production scale hydroponics system in the greenhouse. All youth at Eliada also have access to the dome. With 90% of youth in Eliada’s treatment services experiencing some form of abuse or neglect, and 83% of preschoolers at Eliada receiving free and reduced lunch, the agency is working towards providing all children and youth in care experiences that build up resiliency protective factors. The development of self-regulation skills, memory and flexibility skills, and a sense of hope, all work to build resiliency and improve long-term outcomes.
Rooted in growing food, Urban Growers Collective cultivates nourishing environments which support health, economic development, healing and creativity through urban agriculture in Chicago, IL
They offer a variety of programs including Adult Job Training, New Farm Incubation, Teen Education and Food Access & Justice. They also recently built a 42-foot Growing Dome at the South Chicago farm and community garden to provide training, mentoring, and coaching for individuals to obtain increased agricultural and growing capacity, with a focus on individuals from communities with a lack of food access.
Every contribution makes a big difference. Please consider donating today to strengthen their cause.
Aquaculture + Hydroponics = AQUAPONICS; A highly sustainable food production system involving recirculating systems
of symbiotic fish and plant production.
The mission of the Aquaponics Project is to deliver sustainable agriculture solutions that grow food 365 days per year and result in a long-term, positive impact for residents of community food deserts. Their vision is worldwide food security on an ecologically thriving Earth.
The Aquaponics Grow Dome at CBEC is our inaugural partnership project built at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville, MD. The Grow Dome is a 42-foot geodesic dome greenhouse with an underground Ground to Air Heat Transfer (GAHT) system which acts as a geothermal battery to both heat and cool the greenhouse. The GrowDome houses an Aquaponics system that maximizes the usable space within the greenhouse. It includes a “Fish Farm 2” (two 500-gallon fish tanks, a clarifier tank, solids removal tank, and biofilter tank,) incorporated with four growing methods used in aquaponics: clay media beds, deep water culture (DWC) beds, nutrient film technique pipes (NFT), and vertical towers that the system water continually recirculates through. There is more than 1,000 SF of growing space in the GrowDome.