May 22, 2014:
Principal Christan Gee received word yesterday that the Elmworth Permaculture Project has been approved for a $10,000 A+ for Energy grant from BP. This amount, added to the recent $5,000 commitment from Encana Corporation and the remaining $1,000 from the ConocoPhillips fitness centre grant, will cover the projected $14,000 price tag for the Elmworth School greenhouse, and then some.
After receiving the news from BP yesterday, Mr. Gee immediately contacted BW Global Structures and says he expects delivery of the 60 by 24 ft. year-round solar-powered greenhouse kit as early as the end of May.
“We are very excited about all the amazing possibilities for hands-on learning that the greenhouse will bring. The opportunities for exploration would have been impossible in the classroom,” says Mr. Gee.
Mr. Gee hopes to have the structure up and running before the end of the school year. His plans for the greenhouse include an aquaponics system – a healthy, self-sustaining closed system whereby greenhouse-grown plants feed fish.
“Construction of the greenhouse takes roughly three days. The aquaponics system will be supplemental to that and will take a week or so to complete. When the greenhouse is in operation, we will start by growing herbs and small fruit-bearing plants and work our way up from there,” adds Mr. Gee.
“This project sounds like a great community endeavour that will allow students to learn more about solar energy in a real-life scenario,” says Amanda Balint, Community Investment Manager at BP. “We are excited to see how this project progresses over the coming months.”
“This is a great project for the entire school and the surrounding community,” says Don Rowan, Community Relations Advisor at Encana Corporation. “The entire project is self-sustainable. The greenhouse will offer educational components for all grades at the school, while teaching students the three basics of environmental awareness – reduce, reuse, recycle.”
Future plans for the Elmworth Permaculture Project include a rabbitry and the addition of vermiculture – the use of worms to create viable topsoil from food scraps.