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On October 11th and 12th, CC Grow team members participated in a greenhouse building workshop led by Regenerative Lifestyles & Denver Earthship, the East Side Growers Collective, and Integrated Aquaponics. Located in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood at the community garden of the East Side Growers Collective and focused on building a geodesic dome greenhouse for their community garden, the workshop was centered around hands-on learning through action. We spent two days putting in a lot of hard work building, as well as talking about, one type of year-round growing option available here in Colorado. Most excitingly, we got to meet and connect with a diverse group of growers and community members and were able to see concrete results from our group effort as the dome’s structure was completed and raised.
The design of the greenhouse incorporates sustainable Earthship elements, including the use of recycled and natural materials. In our case, this was accomplished through a rammed earth foundation, re-using old tires as forms for the earth. In the future, the dome will have a water collection and recycling feature, which can possibly be integrated into a year-round aquaponic growing system. It will also use a small solar panel system for ventilation on sunny days when the inside of the dome could get too warm without some added air flow. The dome also makes use of the earth’s thermal mass for year-round temperature regulation, as the floor height is sunk several feet below ground level.
As the dome is completed and covered, it will serve as a year-round food production area for members of the East Side Grower’s Collective, as well as providing space for those gardeners to start plants and seeds early in the season, thus increasing their annual crop yields.
We are glad to have contributed to the rebuilding and improvement of this urban location. Historically, the space was used as a landfill and subsequently a parking lot for a shopping complex; after this failed, the lot was ultimately left abandoned. Now, thanks to community efforts, we see it becoming a bountiful food production area and gathering space. Additionally, our team learned a sustainable building method and design which can result in an attractive and simple year-round garden for our clients’ backyards or neighborhoods.