Dayton Foodbank to build new greenhouse by ‘edible forest’

The Dayton Foodbank Inc.'s edible forest, adjacent to its warehouse. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
The Dayton Foodbank Inc.'s edible forest, adjacent to its warehouse. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The Foodbank Inc. plans to construct a new greenhouse that it hopes will produce hundreds of thousands of servings of greens and herbs each year.

The Foodbank hopes to break ground on the new project within the next 60 days.

The greenhouse will be built in the organization’s urban garden, which is adjacent to its warehouse on Armor Place. The greenhouse is expected to be around 6,100 square feet, according to a city building permit application.

“It will substantially increase our on-site growing capacity while providing educational and training opportunities,” said James Hoffer, the Foodbank’s garden and compost manager.

The Dayton Foodbank Inc.'s edible forest, adjacent to its warehouse. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
The Dayton Foodbank Inc.'s edible forest, adjacent to its warehouse. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Most of the food that will be grown in the greenhouse will be distributed to clients through multiple Foodbank programs, Hoffer said.

Greens also will be made available to member agencies through the organization’s marketplace, he said, and the Foodbank hopes to make some of what it grows available to consumers.

The Foodbank has a small greenhouse sponsored by Corteva, but it lacks climate control and serves as a workshop and a place to raise seedlings, Hoffer said.

The new greenhouse will be much larger and will have fully automated climate control and crop-monitoring systems, he said.

“The produce will be grown in a hydroponic system utilizing the nutrient film technique (NFT) growing method,” he said. “We look forward to unveiling the greenhouse to the public in this summer.”

The Dayton Foodbank Inc.'s edible forest, adjacent to its warehouse. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
The Dayton Foodbank Inc.'s edible forest, adjacent to its warehouse. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The greenhouse will produce greens that the Foodbank does not consistently receive from its other food streams, Hoffer said.

A local “hunger hero” provided funding for the project, he said.

The Foodbank’s urban garden ― also called the “edible forest” ― is funded by Public Health ― Dayton & Montgomery County and Creating Healthy Communities.

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