Colorado Mountain College to host collaborative planning process for new Breckenridge Community Greenhouse

First meeting March 14

Farmers Kyle Wiseman and Kyla Laplante and five CMC interns developed a CSA program for Summit County last summer. A new partnership between Colorado Mountain College and the High Country Conservation Center will bring a greenhouse to CMC's location in Breckenridge this summer.

Farmers Kyle Wiseman and Kyla Laplante and five CMC interns developed a CSA program for Summit County last summer. A new partnership between Colorado Mountain College and the High Country Conservation Center will bring a greenhouse to CMC in Breckenridge this summer. Photo courtesy High Country Conservation Center.

Colorado Mountain College (CMC) in Breckenridge has partnered with local nonprofit High Country Conservation Center (HC3) to host a series of public forums and workshops to collaboratively plan, design and build the new Breckenridge Community Greenhouse. The greenhouse will be constructed this summer on the south side of the existing Breckenridge Community Garden, which is at CMC’s Breckenridge location, at the corner of Denison Placer and Airport Road.

The Breckenridge Community Greenhouse will provide students and community members with a unique facility to learn about various high-altitude, sustainable gardening techniques. The greenhouse will also provide CMC students with an outlet to participate in experiential learning opportunities outside of the classroom while cultivating vegetables year-round. In addition, the greenhouse has the potential to complement CMC’s culinary program and noncredit cooking classes.

“The overarching goal for this high-altitude greenhouse is to function as a working model for energy-efficient greenhouses that sustain operation through our cold winters,” said Jennifer Santry, HC3’s community programs director, who will help facilitate the greenhouse planning process. Marc Plinke from Ceres Greenhouse Solutions in Boulder, Michelle Zimmerman from Innovative Energy and other greenhouse enthusiasts have been invited to participate in the design process. “Through this collaborative process, we ultimately want community members and students to have the final say in how the greenhouse looks and functions,” said Santry.

CMC and HC3’s partnership has developed over the past four years through groundbreaking sustainable food projects like Breckenridge’s community garden and greenhouse. Dave Askeland, CMC campus vice president in Breckenridge and Dillon, said, “The partnership between CMC and HC3 has been invaluable for our students and community. Learning opportunities such as the community garden, seed bank and internships have enabled our students to apply their classroom learning to real-world situations.”

In 2013, HC3 launched Summit CSA (Cultivating Students of Agriculture), a program that provides CMC students with a scholarship and summer internship experience in local food production at greenhouses and gardens throughout Summit County. “Thanks to Summit CSA’s successes, CMC students and faculty approached HC3 about collaboratively building a community greenhouse on CMC property to directly benefit community members, students and future gardeners,” said Santry.

The greenhouse planning process will kick off with the first meeting on Friday, March 14, from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in room 136 at CMC in Breckenridge. Community members are encouraged to join CMC faculty and students in designing Breckenridge’s first sustainable, year-round greenhouse.

For more information, please contact Jen Santry at High Country Conservation Center – jen@highcountryconservation.org or 970-668-5703.

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