At the last Telluride School Board meeting the addition of a Growing Spaces Growing Dome as a learning lab and contributor to the school food system was given final approval. The pursuit of a greenhouse for the school has been a long time effort, really started nearly 10 years ago. But patience is a virtue and the 26’ diameter growing dome that will be up and running soon will be a great school asset.
On Tuesday, workers from Sunrise leveled the spot behind the school on a small bench just above the parking lot. It’s tucked in pretty well, yet the site gets plenty of sun all year. This dome is funded in part through the Telluride Medical Foundation’s Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) grant, the Southwest Institute for Resilience, and in-kind support from EcoAction Partners. None of it would be possible without the input, support and approval from the Telluride School District including the administration, several teachers and the school chef, Michael Goller.
A webinar put on Tuesday by LiveWell Colorado (www.livewellColorado.org), “Beyond the Schoolyard Garden:Use of School Grounds for School and Community Production” offered excellent examples of innovative ideas for getting more local food into schools. School gardens and even greenhouses are no longer considered cutting edge, but how about a school/community farm? In Salida, people realized there just weren’t enough food producers in their county to form a strong farm to school bond. Even the grocery stores were hard pressed to find locally grown food for their produce bins. So the school decided to step into the farming business and see what they could grow on school property. As they design and build a new high school they will be incorporating a school “garden” on two to three acres of school land.
Agriburbia is a group on the front range which has begun installing food production areas next to school gardens. According to their website:
“There are approximately 3,000+ acres of Agriburbia® currently being designed and developed. In today’s climate of soaring gas prices, international conflicts, and concerns about food availablility and quality there are highly profitable opportunities emerging in sustainable land development. Agriburbia® incorporates the current set of sustainable practices such as alternative energy, natural storm water management, and pedestrian focus and adds a new element that is the re-integration of food production directly within the living environment.”
Perhaps the project most similar to what will be possible with the Telluride dome is the 42’ Growing Dome at the Galileo School of Math and Science in Colorado Springs. They’ve put together an eight- minute video that will show you what’s going on there including harvesting luscious lettuce that will go right into their school salad bars. (Visit their website at http://w3.d11.org/galileo to check it out.) Will we be able to post our own video next year? I certainly hope so!
A huge thanks to all who have helped so far and those (maybe you?) who will help bring this greenhouse to fruition. We still have some site prep work to do in the next few days and are waiting to hear when we can get a supervisor from Growing Spaces to help dismantle the dome (currently in Ridgway) and help us put it up at its new location behind the Telluride High School. Gardeners, landscapers, Master Gardeners, folks with useful items to donate (including funds)…. We need you all!
For more information about the dome and how you can get involved, please email me at email@example.com or call me at 970-708-0289.