Central Iowa Services & Shelters is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday for its new Schoen Family Greenhouse. The event will be followed by a reception at Big Grove Brewery, including speeches from CISS CEO Melissa O’Neil and Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Naig.
The new greenhouse will help produce food for the shelter. Melissa Alto-Kintigh, CISS’s Director of Marketing & Business Development, said that the greenhouse came about due to the spike in food insecurity following the pandemic.
“Food insecurity is a huge deal and especially with food prices skyrocketing and, of course, food insecurity always being an issue anyway really since COVID, it has really just had an uptick, so that just plays right into it,” Alto-Kintigh said.
The greenhouse will use an aquaponics system for farming both fish and produce. It will be capable of producing 4,000 to 5,000 heads of lettuce each month as well as 600 pounds of tilapia every six weeks. Aaron Thormodsen, CISS’s Urban Farm Manager, said that the greenhouse will provide fresh foods that normally wouldn’t be available for those in need.
“The food we’re producing is some of the most expensive products you can find fresh herbs, leafy greens, that kind of thing,” Thormodsen said.
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