Fresh veggies are just a walk away for University of Findlay staff and students. That’s because the university is in the first year of the Hoop House project, a specialized greenhouse that grows produce nearly year-round. The joint venture of the Findlay Green Campus Initiative and Oiler Enterprises gets students involved in growing healthy food that is consumed on campus. Hoop House– named for the steel structural hoops– was built last May on campus and has since provided tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, eggplant, lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrots. The food is sold to staff and students at affordable prices, as well as provided to dining halls with plans to sell to community members when possible. A recent harvest yielded six pounds of spinach and 20 pounds of lettuce. During three growing seasons at its Foulke Avenue location, about a dozen students do most of the work planting, picking and marketing the harvest, without using any chemicals or pesticides.
“Some of the students wanted fresher food, and we wanted to educate people about what they eat, where it comes from and, ultimately, the taste,” says Michael Reed, professor of TESOL/Bilingual Education and co-chair of the green campus group. “ In most cases it was harvested just four hours ago.”