Thursday, October 6, 2016
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno is excited to announce a new development for the Indian Orchard neighborhood. Wellspring Harvest, of Wellspring Cooperative Corporation, is preparing to begin construction on the first commercial greenhouse in the City of Springfield. The greenhouse will be located on Pinevale Street in the Indian Orchard Business Park. Wellspring Harvest is prepared to begin site work and greenhouse construction as soon as purchase of the land is completed.
Mayor Sarno said, “I commend and thank the Wellspring Cooperative Corporation and Fred Rose for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield. This is a great combination of education and empowering ‘green’ economic development.”
The greenhouse will be built in two phases: the first being a quarter-acre hydroponic greenhouse that will grow greens, lettuce and herbs. The second phase greenhouse will be built in the next two years and will produce cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Hydroponic gardening is a controlled method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.
"This greenhouse advances Wellspring's mission to create a network of worker-owned companies to provide jobs and wealth creation opportunities for low income and unemployed Springfield residents. We want to thank Mayor Sarno's administration and the Springfield Redevelopment Authority for working with us to bring this green industry of the future to the city,” said Fred Rose, Co-Director of Wellspring Cooperative Corporation.
The initial facility will employ five workers, and expand to nine with the opening of the second phase, responding to the urgent need to create entry-level jobs in Springfield. The production greenhouse will be supplemented by an educational greenhouse designed to provide horticulture training to community members and students. This educational greenhouse will be designed in partnership with the Springfield Public Schools and the Springfield Parks Department.
Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools Daniel Warwick thanked Wellspring Cooperative Corporation for including the district in this pioneering effort. “We could not be more pleased to be a part of this work – the first of its kind in our City,” said Warwick. “The educational component that Wellspring has so thoughtfully included in their development plans will provide our students with a rare opportunity that will greatly augment classroom lessons and is sure to pique interests in horticulture as a lifelong career or passion.”
“The Wellspring Greenhouse initiative will provide for residents a positive opportunity to work in the horticultural industry. The Parks Department, in conjunction with the School Department, supports the opportunity to expand job opportunities in the green industry. We look forward to assisting Wellspring in developing this initiative and appreciate their investment in Springfield,” said Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management.
The greenhouse is estimated to produce approximately 250,000 plants per year, and Wellspring Harvest plans to distribute the harvest amongst local schools, hospitals and communities to help them reach their public health goals. Included in the distribution plan are Baystate Medical Center, Springfield and Worcester Public Schools and Big Y Supermarkets.
The entire project will cost $900,000 including operating capital, with a target completion and opening date of December 2016.
For more information please visit: http://wellspring.coop/co-op-businesses/greenhouse-cooperative