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