Together with our partners at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), we have set forth on a new venture; ready to deliver fresh, locally-grown produce throughout Southwest Michigan.
Yesterday during a seed-planting ceremony we celebrated the construction of a new, passive solar greenhouse, or hoop house. The excitement was apparent as staff from Senior Services and KVCC stepped up one-by-one to plant their own seed to mark the occasion. Nifty Hoops, the company building the hoop house worked diligently in the background as cameras flashed, and representatives from KVCC and Senior Services spoke about the cultivation of produce and relationships. They talked about the positive impact the hoop house would have on our community and how the vegetables would be incorporated into the meals at Senior Services. Dan Pontius, Director of Nutrition at Senior Services, exclaimed that “It has long been a goal of ours to incorporate more local vegetables into our meals, and this collaboration will allow us to fulfill one of our most important priorities.”
Overall, it was a great event as we add this notable addition to the Nutrition Program at Senior Services of Southwest Michigan.
A Step Towards a Solution
The hoop house is a step towards a solution to the challenges that hunger poses throughout our community. According to Feeding America, sixty-three percent of households with older adults (50+) find themselves facing an impossible choice — to buy groceries or medical care. In addition, as the baby-boom generation ages, the number of older adults facing hunger is expected to rise. Accessibility to a 4-season production of fresh vegetables alleviates the burden for anyone having to make these decisions.
Spinach, Lettuce, Carrots, Kale, and many other vegetables will be cultivated by our dedicated volunteers and incorporated into the food we prepare for Meals on Wheels, Food For All, Congregate Dining, and Generation Catering. Food Production staff at the college will train the volunteers and work together to plant and maintain future harvests. KVCC students will receive hands-on experience by managing the hoop house. It is a win-win for everyone!
Funding from Eaton Corporation, The Burdick-Thorne Foundation and H.P. Genevieve Connable Fund to Senior Services, Inc., is making this collaborative project possible.
Click HERE to learn more about the collaboration on 3WWMT West Michigan
Senior Services will need volunteers to provide some preliminary work in the hoop house, prior to its full production – weeding, tilling, digging. We do expect that volunteer needs will vary from season to season, and the need for additional volunteers will increase over time. If you have an interest in volunteering in the hoop house, please contact us to learn more about current and future opportunities.
Click HERE to contact us today
Call us at 269-382-0515