Casper Community Greenhouse Project Embarks on Huge Project in Partnership with Wyoming Medical Center
Picture this: a lush urban farm with walking paths, 250 apple trees, and numerous indoor and outdoor community gardens all in one place.
This Eden-esque fantasy isn't too far fetched for Casper.
During a recent episode of the Report to Wyoming podcast, the director of the Casper Community Greenhouse Project, Leanne Miller, talks to K2Radio News about the reality of all those things.
In partnership with Wyoming Medical Center, the Greenhouse Project has been given the green light to build on 5.8 acres of land. It will be called the Grow Casper farm.
They've received a USDA grant to begin building the first of six greenhouses and hope to have it complete by the end of the year.
"It doesn't look like there's a lot of things happening on the property, but we've spent a lot of time and effort on getting the water in, so when you look at it, it still looks blank, but there's a lot of the infrastructure that's being done that doesn't show above ground...Once we get this greenhouse up and people start seeing that we're building something I think they'll be like 'Oh my gosh, something's happening!'"
The goal of the project is to provide a sanctuary to community members in the summer and a place to rest in the winter. Miller also stresses the importance of using it for educational purposes.
The nonprofit aims to partner with 4H, FFA, and the college's Agriculture Department to teach about food to pantry growing, farm to school practices, and more.
"The entire grounds will be landscaped," says Miller. "It's going to be so cool!" Other than the windbreak, everything else is to be an edible or pollinator plant. For low-income families that want to garden, the opportunity will be there. Surpluses of food can be donated back to the community.
The grant from the USDA has allowed the project to hire a farm manager for the property for the next three years to help get things get off the ground.
Eric Lovell is the man for the job. He is a horticulturist who ran the University of Wyoming's greenhouse and has experience as a landscaper, a teaching assistant, and a plant pathology research assistant.
Listen to the full podcast with Leanne Miller here.