On a vacant city lot, Seed to Feed is constructing up a new way to live up to its name.

The program that is part of Church Community Services is focused on providing fresh vegetables, fruit and meat to those in need in Elkhart County is building a greenhouse this week.

The work by volunteers and Tunnel Vision Hoops, an Ohio company, started Thursday to put up the frame and the project will be done on Saturday, said Natasha Kauffmann, co-coordinator of Seed to Feed.

Todd Alexander of Tunnel Vision Hoops connects the frame of a new greenhouse for Seed to Feed. (Flavor 574 photo/Marshall V. King)
Todd Alexander of Tunnel Vision Hoops connects the frame of a new greenhouse for Seed to Feed. (Flavor 574 photo/Marshall V. King)

The high-tunnel, simple greenhouse is 30-by-96 feet and will be used to grow food for food pantries during the winter months, start seeds in the spring for 14 Seed to Feed gardens and provide job training for the Men Alive program, according to a press release.

Men Alive teaches job and life skills to men who sign up. The greenhouse will provide a natural place for them to work and learn. Kurt Bullard, a volunteer who has a long history of farming and helped found Seed to Feed, said the work is entry-level, but the skills learned in the greenhouse will make the men hireable in the local economy. “There’s places that would want to hire you right now,” he said.

Rod Roberson, CCS executive director, said having a greenhouse is a natural next step for the agency and the Seed to Feed program.

A 30-by-96-foot greenhouse is being constructed behind Church Community Services in Elkhart. (Flavor 574 photo/Marshall V. King)
A 30-by-96-foot greenhouse is being constructed behind Church Community Services in Elkhart. (Flavor 574 photo/Marshall V. King)

“There’ll be pretty considerable yield out of this. We’re going to be able to supply pantries during the winter,” he said.

Bullard said, “Year-round. We’re going to grow year-round.”

The greenhouse is behind CCS along Thomas Street on a plot of land owned by the city of Elkhart, which is leasing the property to CCS and approved the construction. The crabgrass and purslane was being trampled as the new structure went up. A well has already been dug and is ready to supply water.

The Community Foundation of Elkhart County gave a $23,000 grant to fund the greenhouse, Roberson said.

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