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Greenhouse & Compost Demonstration Centre
The Stop's Green Barn is a heritage building re-designed to Gold LEED environmental standards that grows year-round organic produce. The Green Barn houses a 3,000-square-foot state-of-the-art greenhouse in which we grow a variety of produce including kale, Swiss chard, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, grapefruit, pineapple, Meyer lemons , Mizuna mustard, baby bok choy, chilies, nasturtiums, geraniums, bananas, oranges, avocado, cassava, taro, sweet potato, Indian spinach, jade, lemon balm, figs, marigold, tamarind, radishes, sprouts, callaloo, aloe vera and olive. The food we grow in the greenhouse is split between our programs, volunteers and our food bank.
- 220 lbs of produce were harvested in the greenhouse in 2009. That amount increased more than five-fold, to 1,310 lbs, in 2010.
- Number of vermicompost bins sifted by volunteers in 2011: 186
- Number of seedlings grown for community gardens across Toronto in 2011: 18,250
- Amount of soil/compost purchased in 2011: None, representing a savings of $5,480!
Our compost demonstration centre produces much-needed compost for our greenhouse. Large composting units and vermicomposting bins serve a triple purpose – to divert food waste from landfill, turn it into a rich growing medium for greenhouse plants and to teach the value and methods of composting to Green Barn visitors. The worms in the composting bins are popular with kids and are great ambassadors for the world of biodiversity.
With the help of kids in our After School Program and volunteers, we're also building a seed bank. In the fall of 2011, we gave away 400 kale seedlings 400 kale seedlings grown from seed saved from our own plants.