US (NC): Winston-Salem rejects bids to operate hydroponics facility, but will keep looking for operator

Winston-Salem officials have rejected bids to run the city's hydroponics greenhouse at Kimberley Park in hopes of getting more potential operators interested in running the food-production facility.
The city is growing five varieties of lettuce, plus cilantro, parsley, celery, fennel, basil, and endive, inside the 6,400-square-foot greenhouse, which is nonetheless still not fully in use.

This past spring, the city announced that it would receive proposals to operate the hydroponics greenhouse, with potential operators asked to submit information on how they would staff, manage and market the operation, as well as train volunteers and urban farmers on hydroponic gardening.
When the application period closed on June 30, the city had received only two proposals. A third proposal came in after the deadline had passed.' "Ultimately, we wanted to see a larger turnout of applicants," said Moriah Gendy, who manages food programs for the city's sustainability efforts. "This is a very specific skill set. We want to make sure that we are getting the most qualified group in there to meet the expectations for the facility."

Gendy said officials are currently growing plants to learn about and test the hydroponics operations and that the produce will be donated when it is ready. A food distribution nonprofit, H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem, sits adjacent to the hydroponics greenhouse and would receive any food donated from the greenhouse, Gendy said.

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