Organic, Fresh Food Grown Right In Our Backyard
New Horizons had a goal of planting and growing our own produce for use in our soup kitchen and food pantry. A greenhouse was generously donated by Rimol Greenhouse Systems. The greenhouse provides 2,500 pounds of produce annually to the soup kitchen, which is used in salads and meals. Not only is the produce extremely fresh and nutritious, it helps us save on the food line of our budget.
Our greenhouse is a 30 x 72 polycarbonate structure which is located on, what was, an empty lot owned by New Horizons adjacent to our facility. The growing is overseen by volunteers trained to work in the greenhouse. This is the only urban greenhouse located in a major city in the State of New Hampshire.
The Hunger Project
Can you say “hydroponics”? Elementary school students are learning about gardening (and even hydroponics) through the New Horizons Hunger Project. Students participate in a learning unit on gardening, start and nurture seedlings in the schools, then come to our greenhouse to transplant them. The program now includes four Manchester elementary schools: Gossler Park, Henry Wilson, Bakersville, and St. Casimir. Our greenhouse has been producing bounties, teaching students, and saving us money on fresh produce costs since 2014.
Our Greenhouse In the News
The Union Leader featured a front page article on June 4, 2016 highlighting the advancements of meals at the soup kitchen thanks to the greenhouse since our origins in 1970s when Sister Angie Whidden drove around in a borrowed Winnebago ministering to the hungry.
The Greenhouse operates nine to ten months out of the year, starting with the first planting on St. Patrick’s Day dubbed “The Greening” and continues producing through November. The greenhouse supplies 2,500 pounds of vegetables annually. Clients appreciate the tastier food and it saves approximately $15,000 a year on produce costs.
A collaborative of volunteers oversee the greenhouse and their leader at inception was Kate Hogan, a longtime educator raised on a large farm in Iowa. The “Compost King” Robert Brouillard oversees the composting operation which is an art into itself and produces more than enough each year to prepare beds.
Robust Grow Operation Means Fresh Veggies Every Day
Our shelters always have vacancy, but in the summer our greenhouse has “No Vacancy”. Vegetables and herbs peak in the ideal growing conditions and the organic bounty is a welcome addition to the 200 salads and entrees made each day for our clients. Now in its fourth year of operation, the greenhouse provides New Horizons with a vehicle to increase self-sufficiency, a message we convey every day to our clients. The greenhouse is staffed by a collaborative of volunteers and sits on a lot adjacent to our facility.