Thursday, April 21, 2011

Encore: Gardens Under Glass and its Re-Source Center: Much More Than Growing Local Foods!

Gardens Under Glass is an urban agriculture/local foods growing project in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, in what was a former high end retail shopping complex. The complex actually resembles a giant greenhouse, so the new theme is a perfect fit and fine example of adaptive re-use of a building that had been economically type-cast by its peers. Growing food inside the building is achieved by aquaponics and hydroponics. These growing systems do not use soil, but instead utilize organically nourished water from added nutrients, or straight from fish waste in accompanying aquarium systems. Conventional methods in soil are also practiced.

The grand vision, beyond local food, hopes for it to become a regional center for independent green businesses and innovation, where such entities can combine forces and increase their competitive edge in what has vastly become a highly franchised market economy in the US. Local and independent merchants who are already promoting sustainable philosophies, green products and/or technologies, have the opportunity to be positioned along one indoor street under one roof!

Such, in turn, helps to promote a daring ideal of a more economically self sustaining city--by setting an example of how a community need not always solely depend on mega corporate investment, upon which to be the center of an economy. An added bonus in promoting smaller enterprise can sustain economic stability through economic diversity.

The Gardens Under Glass Re-source and Education Center opened its doors in September 2010. It is best described as a place offering products and ideas which promote sustainable lifestyles and healthier local economies through adjusting our buying habits and learning through workshops. Some greener examples set by the complex itself, are incorporating more recycling and waste reduction within the facility, more efficient use of existing energy supply, use of food grown on site by cafes inside the complex, rainwater retention, litter prevention, promoting less energy dependent landscaping, and composting of yard and produce waste!

Workshops are open to the public and local schools--and may focus on cooking with seasonal and local produce, healing through herbs and diet, growing food at home utilizing hydroponics and aquaponics, or even a presentation about local river and stream habitats, their importance in our lives...and their conservation through more thoughtful agriculture. One of the best true examples of promoting refuse, reduce, re-use, and recycling the center can offer is in the design of the room itself. It is a place that was created with over 95% recycled materials found on site and/or donations!

The Re-source center also promotes focus on three components of the biosphere: Air, land, and water--and promotes products and/or ideas that when implemented by the consumer, can result in the cleaner of those three life supporting components. The patron gains an enlightened knowledge of how his/her purchases can either have a heavier or much lesser impact on the environment--and a more positive one on our local economy.


Many examples set at Gardens Under Glass can be a blue print for how cities across the country can gain a new vision of what can create a successful and stable economy when multiplied and put into practice. The project is ultimately a catalyst in creating community connections, walkable neighborhoods, local foods, products and business--AND self sustaining neighborhoods. It can demonstrate that their is an economy and jobs to be created in a healthier environment in contrast to an often prevailing archaic mentality that offers the choice of “us, OR the environment”


Please visit: http://www.gardensunderglass.net

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