Bemidji’s New Greenhouse Will Allow Food Growth During Winter
The Bemidji Community Food Shelf is taking a new approach when it comes to food with their new Deep Winter Greenhouse, which will make it possible to produce food during winter.
“[It’s] something that growers have a really hard time doing unless they have a hydroponic operation,” said Bemidji Community Food Shelf Farm Manager Hannah Klemm. “So this is a different approach to that.”
It was unveiled during an open house at the Bemidji Community Food Shelf.
The greenhouse is the second structure of five that will be located throughout Minnesota as part of a collaboration with the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships. The structure is built to try to capture as much solar energy as possible.
“Big, glazing wall on the south side, the sunlight basically comes in through there, heats up the space and heat rises to the interior of the greenhouse.” said University of Minnesota Center For Sustainable Building Research Daniel Handeen. “It gets taken in through a duct, down and then forced underneath and through the rock bed. That hot air basically puts its heat into the rocks.”
It’s the brainchild of Handeen, and he considers it his baby. One of the challenges he faced was figuring out the function of the heat storage aspect.
“We’ve got good amounts of insulation in the exterior walls and through the roof and we’ve got a thermal mask essentially, so we have a place to store the heat that comes in here,” said Handeen.”
The Bemidji Community Food Shelf has its own farm and will use the facility to grow food and give it to customers at no cost. The greenhouse goes along with the food shelf’s mission in providing food for people in need.
“Local food as a community experience where people come together builds a sense of community in a way that buying food at the grocery store never could,” said Bemidji Community Food Shelf Vice President Jack Judkins.
The hope is to also make the space available for local growers and for educational purposes.