The Creative Way We’re Cutting Food Costs

At our Community Center and Day Center, we serve over 60 meals a day to vulnerable children. As you can imagine, after salaries and utilities, food is our biggest expense. In order to decrease our expenditures on food – especially vegetables – we plan to combine two technologies that promote the healthy stewardship of creation.

The first is to build an EarthShip. While this technology has been used primarily for homes, we will use it to build a greenhouse. The EarthShip is made of recycled tires that are packed with dirt. The tires form the walls of the greenhouse and retain heat. The roof and front will be covered with transparent sheets of polycarbonate through which sunlight heats the EarthShip.

Second, we will build an aquaponics garden inside the EarthShip greenhouse. This urban farm includes large tanks in which we will farm fish (probably carp or tilapia). The refuse and bacteria from the fish will be pumped into pods where vegetables grow. The children at the Centers will help feed the fish and tend the garden. The only ongoing costs for the aquaponics garden are fish food, seeds, and a small amount of electricity for the water pumps. According to our calculations, we should be able to grow most of the vegetables that we need for the Community Center and Day Center throughout the year.

We have completed the first phase of the EarthShip and are now constructing phase 2. The total cost of the EarthShip extension and aquaponics garden is $10,000. While this is a big investment, we anticipate big returns. Along with the therapeutic effects of gardening, this project will be a practical means of teaching the children to care for creation. Also, as we perfect the process and increase our production, we hope to expand and replicate the greenhouse so that we can sell vegetables locally, earn income for our organization, and possibly employ some of our youth. If you have any specific questions about the project, please do not hesitate to ask.

David Chronic

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