Greenhouse to be reborn as local food eating hub

Brian Luedtke
blued692@uwsp.edu



Photos by Samantha Feld

Cold, disheveled, and hollow: Sorenson’s Greenhouse sits peace- fully across the street from down- town Stevens Point. After years spent enduring nature’s degrading forces, the building once known as Sorenson’s Greenhouse is about to blossom into the Central Rivers Farmshed’s “The Greenhouse Project.”
 
The Central Rivers Farmshed is a Central Wisconsin organization working to strengthen the connec- tion between local residents and their food. Farmshed has several initiatives including food system education, local eating, farmer capacity building, local food networks, public markets and nutrition for learning and wealth. Farmshed organizes events, resources and partn erships to enhance and sup- port a local food economy.
 
“The Greenhouse Project” (TGP), according to the Farmshed’s website, will metamorphose into a “model demonstration site that creates rich compost from local organic waste streams, maintains indoor and out- door space and resources for growing plants and manages a community kitchen for demonstrating seasonal food preparation and preservation processes.”
 
“The property had been foreclosed on, and the bank that owned it had significantly dropped the price,” said Josh Stolzenburg, TGP’s business development contact and Chief Executive Officer of Northwind Renewable Energy. “About 30 of us showed up to see if now was the time to turn this property into an urban agricultural center. Turns out it was.”
 
Local author and philanthro- pist Patrick Rothfuss agreed to pur- chase Sorenson’s Greenhouse after meeting with TGP organizers. “The Greenhouse Project” will be provided to the Central Rivers Farmshed with fair lease terms. This allows Farmshed to focus on site renovation and program development.
 
“The Greenhouse Project” will strive to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources, utilizing and showcasing several renewable energy technologies.
 
Based roughly around the Growing Power model, TGP will col- lect and process organic wastes (food scraps, yard trimmings) from the sur- rounding community. These wastes can be processed in ways to produce multiple benefits such as heat, fish food (black soldier fly larvae) and biogas.
 
The Central Rivers Farmshed is an organization working to strengthen the connection between residents of the community and their local agriculture.
 
Along with plants being grown, there will be classes on how to eat local, prepare fresh garden produce and harvest and eat wild edibles.

Founding memberships are available to all businesses, groups and individuals that donate $50 or more to “The Greenhouse Project” within the first year. Amazingly, these founding members will receive their benefits for life. Membership is not required, however, and annual memberships will be offered with different benefits.
 
A coalition of community groups is working to buy and renovate Sorenson’s greenhouse, 1220 Briggs Court, and turn it into a local food and renewable energy center.

Founder benefits could include discounted or free use of space, and reduced rates on workshops, classes, plants, compost, soil and other retail products for life (varying by donor type).

Sources assured there will be plenty of volunteer opportunities for students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and the local community.
 

Farmshed plans to hire an executive director and a facilities manager with the help of a generous donation from Northwind Renewable Energy.

I want to see people’s relationship with food grow; whether it’s getting more hands in the dirt or cooks in the kitchen. This is a revitalization effort focused on those two lost arts!”-Layne Cozzolino

“The Greenhouse Project” will strive to generate 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources, utilizing and show- casing several renewable energy technologies.

 

Learn more at www.farmshed.org.

 

 More Info

 

Central Wisconsin Moving Planet Celebration: Moving Beyond Fossil Fuels

This coming weekend an event will be held at Jackson Elementary (1900 West Zinda Drive, Stevens Point, WI) to celebrate ways to trans- port ourselves without emitting CO2.

The event begins at 9 a.m. with bike rides. Then at 10 a.m. an “environmental work party” will clean up the Green Circle Trail and assemble a hoop house.

From 1 p.m. on electric vehicles will be on display along with a bicycle show and silent auction.

Between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. free workshops will be held. Finally, at 6 p.m. the “Kick the coal habit” kickball game will commence.

For more information go to www. moving-planet.org, www.farmshed.org, or www.growingpower.org.