The time has come to start writing about the 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling in earnest. One thing I have wondered about: why is it Bloggers? Shouldn’t it be Bloggers’, with an apostrophe? It’s a mystery. In any case, these Fling posts may make you feel disoriented as to time because the photos are from June and it’s chilly November outside.

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The opening night of the Fling found garden bloggers coming together for a group dinner at an unusual location. GrowHaus is a non-profit indoor farm and community service organization located in a mostly Latino part of Denver.

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As I recall the dinner was a Mexican-style buffet. Fresh churros for dessert – yay! Here’s GrowHaus Director of Operations Emily Hoel welcoming the Flingers to Denver.

 

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We ate in a meeting hall full of greenery, most notably vines bearing clusters of unripe figs. It put me in mind of the bible and sitting in peace under one’s own fig tree (Micah 4:4). I’d love to have dinner here when the figs are ripe, then reach up and pick my own dessert.

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GrowHaus operates a 5,000 square foot hydroponic farm that produces 1,200 heads of leafy greens each week, mostly bib lettuce. Harvesting goes on throughout the year.

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There’s also a 3,200 square foot aquaponic farm. What is the difference between hydroponics and aquaponics? As best I can understand, aquaponics has fish living in the same water that sustains the plants. The plants derive nutrients from the fish poop.

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Hydroponics uses liquid synthetic fertilizer, but both technologies use only a small fraction of the inputs required by standard commercial agriculture. 

Better-informed readers should feel free to chime in with corrections in comments.

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There’s also a mushroom operation, which we could only glimpse through a glass, darkly.

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GrowHaus provides job training to area residents, and its operations have served as models for programs throughout the country.

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Some of the produce raised at GrowHaus goes to restaurants and stores, but much of it is sold in their own community market, Mercado de al Lado, along with a variety of other staples. Lower-income shoppers qualify for reduced prices.

GrowHaus also runs a food pantry and a food box program similar to a CSA. There are after-school and summer programs for children, and a variety of adult education programs as well.

I’m glad the Fling committee selected GrowHaus for the beginning of our program. It’s the kind of place that makes me feel more optimistic about the future. You can learn more about GrowHaus on their website here. If you’re feeling generous, you can donate here.

22 Comments on “GrowHaus, the Farm in a City

  1. The Writers Center in Indianapolis dropped the apostrophe. A sign (or not) of the times maybe. What an interesting event this appears to be! Sitting under your own fig tree isn’t too unlike cultivating your own garden, is it? Lovely thought.

    • They did??? I was completely unaware of that. It is a lovely thought. Actually in the bible it says sitting under your own vine AND fig tree, which is even better.

  2. Yes, I agree, this kind of place gives me hope for the future, and there seems to be a bit of a revival of learning about food, and growing our own food…like the hippy days, but more high tech.
    Just one point, I have tasted hydroponically grown tomatoes, and they didn’t seem as tasty as soil grown tomatoes….but I’m going to keep trying!

  3. What an inspiring operation, it certainly bodes well for the future. Interesting hearing about the fish, they use them in Bali to clear dishwater in the drains. Loved seeing the mushrooms too.xxx

    • It was interesting. Reminded me of how we used to buy one of those mushroom log kits for my brother-in-law for Christmas every year. I guess you can grow a lot of mushrooms in a small space.

  4. Love this idea of this place and glad Garden Bloggers Fling with or without the apostrophe chose it. Wish I could have been there. Looking forward to more of your reflections on last year’s Fling.

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