Human Resources, Lakeshore, and Nonprofits

Community greenhouse grows food aid

April 25, 2014
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Community greenhouse grows food aid
Target employees work in the Holland Community Garden. Photo via fb.com

A community garden that supplies local food aid is building a greenhouse on Saturday that will yield about 5,000 pounds of produce.

Garden

Volunteers with the Holland Community Garden, which distributes produce to people in need, are building a wood high-tunnel structure, or unheated greenhouse, on property located behind the Macatawa Resource Center in Holland, a nonprofit incubator, at 665 136th Ave.

The unheated greenhouse is a cost-effective way to lengthen the growing season for flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs. It will enable vegetables to be grown for 10 months out of the year and increase output by 10-15 percent.

The greenhouse is a collaborative project among Community Action House, Holland Area Master Gardeners, Ottawa County Food Policy Council and the Macatawa Resource Center.

Food aid

The food grown at the greenhouse will be donated to Community Action House pantries and served to people at its Holland Community Kitchen. The kitchen provides people with a free meal and is a partnership between Community Action House and Western Theological Seminary.

The garden may also feature a teaching kitchen in the future, to provide education and training to people on how to prepare meals, said Leroy Hernandez, executive director, Macatawa Resource Center.

Unheated greenhouse

The greenhouse will be maintained by volunteers and is part of a food-distribution system multiple nonprofits are trying to develop, Hernandez said.

“The garden is a great program, very low cost and is a community program,” Hernandez said.

The structure is “a lot cheaper” than a traditional greenhouse and “just as effective and it is high tech,” Hernandez said.

“And in the future, if we can get power to it, we can grow crop all year round,” he added.

Holland Community Garden

Holland Community Garden provides fresh produce and nutritional education to low-income people who are at risk of nutritional deficiency.

The garden was founded in 1999 by the Ottawa County Community Action Agency, with help from the Master Gardener Program in Ottawa County. 

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