It’s been over three years since the idea was initially conceived. A hydroponic greenhouse set up as a social enterprise to generate revenue for a growing non-profit organization trying to make significant impacts in Denver. Now, Groundwork Denver’s flagship project; Groundwork Greens has embarked on its maiden voyage with the Grand Opening celebration back in September 2015. After what seemed like a project that never may be, it’s been smooth sailing for the 1800 square foot hydroponic greenhouse thus far.
We hired our greenhouse manager Emily and she’s been hard at work guiding the greens growth. As a matter of fact Emily has been guiding the greens so well that we actually had our first ever harvest of lettuce this past Monday January 18th. This inaugural crop yielded 600 heads of lettuce, each about 10 in diameter and weighing anywhere from 1/3 of a pound to 1/2 a pound! It was a successful first crop of healthy lettuce going through an 8 week process from germination to harvest. Emily’s ultimate goal is to get the process down to 6 week cycles from start to finish.
But its not only heads of lettuce that are growing in the Groundwork Greens greenhouse. An entire array of edible plants are flourishing in the greenhouse: baby bak choy, two varieties of basil, and SIX varieties of micro-greens. With the hope of eventually expanding production to include more herbs and spices, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.
Now you might be wondering to yourself, what the hell are “micro-greens“? Allow me to explain: Micro-greens are baby plants, harvested when they are just developing their first true leaves. These little shoots have very concentrated flavor and a higher nutrition content that plants that are allowed to develop further. Given their flavor, nutritional punch, and vibrant colors, micro-greens are a favorite among chefs. So we’re growing these little organic flavor blasters to help serve the local restaurant community, and secure a steady source of income to support the greenhouse and its mission.
In the coming months we will be selling produce from Groundwork Greens at our most of our volunteer events, and starting in May 2016 Groundwork Greens will be participating in the farm stand at the Aria Denver community in which we are located.
See more photos of the greenhouse on our Facebook page!