Greenhouse grows into design

John Scarffe, Nederland.  The Town of Nederland has received a grant for a new greenhouse and plans for the new facility are advancing, the Nederland Board of Trustees learned during a regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, at the Nederland Community Center. During the consent agenda portion of the meeting, the Board agreed to cancel the July 4 Board meeting.

At the March 7 meeting, the Board appointed Kelly Grebe to the Nederland Sustainability Advisory Board (SAB), and Grebe announced that the Town has been awarded a $15,000 grant for a new greenhouse. SAB Chair Melody Baumhover attended the March 21 meeting to discuss the grant and possibilities for the new greenhouse.

The Community Agriculture Subcommittee of SAB received a Boulder County Sustainability Grant to build a community greenhouse garden in Nederland, according to background information. Baumhover told the Board she is also chair of the Agriculture Subcommittee.

The greenhouse will be a community garden housed indoors for year-round growing capability and is currently planned to be located at the water treatment facility yard abutting Guercio Ballpark. A section will be dedicated specifically for the Nederland Food Pantry donation.

The greenhouse will be volunteer constructed and volunteer run through the Community Agriculture Subcommittee under SAB. In 2016, the SAB requested $5000 as a match to funding this grant. The Trustees did not approve the requested amount, but Boulder County approved a waiver for a less than 10 percent match, and Town Hall has dedicated $500 of in-kind support for this project.

Baumhover said SAB brought up the subject of a greenhouse in regards to the flood of 2013. The Board discussed the lack of food here, and how important that is to sustainability in the Nederland area, so they applied for the greenhouse grant and asked for the waiver.

They will also be working with the local Farmers’ market. The Board has $15,000 to work with, and they have very preliminary information, Baumhover said. One year ago, they talked to Public Works Director Chris Pelletier about locating the greenhouse at the corner of the waste water facility.

Now the Board is asking, “What do we want this to look like and what can we afford?” They have been discussing fund-raising events to pull together money for the project, Baumhover said.

According to the grant application, the greenhouse will serve Nederland residents, their families and other local community members, especially those with a lack of food security. The goals of the project are to establish a year-round gardening space for increased access to fresh food by allowing for a wider variety of crops in winter while economical options are unavailable.

The project would also provide a successful summer harvest of hot-weather crops, establish a year-round growing space for produce donations to the local food pantry, establish a space for community gathering based around food, farming, home gardening and access to local knowledge and expertise as well as educate local youth groups and school students about local food and farming.

The Board will be able to measure its success with attendance at educational events there when possible. “We’ve had a lot of recognition and a lot of people commenting,” Baumhover said. “Food is one thing that everybody agrees on.”

They have more than 10 committed volunteers who have dedicated tasks, and the Board plans to meet in two weeks. “We want this to be off grid electricity wise and want to tap into water from the waste water facility,” Baumhover said.

The group has had a lot of great input from community gardeners who have done this themselves, Baumhover said, but they are still looking for an engineer. They plan on utilizing ventilation so no one has to open windows and are looking into solar energy to power a small fan. They are looking at the facility being 30 x 30 square feet – a smaller structure with an array of different temperatures.

After the greenhouse is constructed, they intend to have it operated like the community gardens, Baumhover said. People will pay for rental space. The Board is working with Town Clerk LauraJane Baur on more detail and closely with Town Payroll and Grants Coordinator Nathan Tye for approvals with the Town.

Trustee Julie Gustafson said this is really exciting. Other funding sources include resources for school funding with elementary and high school students exploring and learning. They have the possibility for unique partnerships, broadening the engagement to include the youth population.

Baumhover agreed and said a lot of funding is available for education and gardening, but a lot of them state no funding for construction. “That’s where we get money for soil and seed.”

After further discussion Trustee Stephanie Miller said, “It looks like everything is not in line to be clear.”

Baumhover said they were just trying to get it done as soon as possible, but it doesn’t have to be done tonight. The Board gave a nod of four to move the item to the April 4 meeting and to place it on the consent agenda. They asked Baumhover to come back with information on a water usage fee waiver, which could be part of the Town’s in-kind contribution and to work with town staff on approval of the site.