Summit County gearing up for new Frisco greenhouses |

Summit County gearing up for new Frisco greenhouses

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SUMMIT COUNTY – Want to grow your own arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, chives, mint or thyme? This will soon be a reality as the Summit Prevention Alliance is prepping to break ground on three temporary greenhouses with help from the Alpine Earth Center.

The simple greenhouses will be 60×14 feet, and they’ll be built by volunteers next to the Summit County Community and Senior Center in Frisco. The Alpine Earth Center – a garden, landscaping and green-energy business in Silverthorne – designed the greenhouses and its owner Jon Harrington will be overseeing the construction process.

Summit Prevention Alliance staffer Joanna Rybak said she hopes produce grown in the greenhouses will provide fresh and affordable veggies for locals well past the normal growing season. She said the greenhouses will also provide fresh greens for local food banks.

The alliance is a community-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles in Summit County, and the greenhouses were also sponsored by a LiveWell Colorado grant. The Summit County government granted temporary use of the land by the senior center.

Though produce grown in the temporary greenhouses won’t be sold initially, Rybak said that if the alliance receives more funding it could be a future endeavor.

“We can have them up until mid-October and then we’ll use them again next year,” she said. “The goal is to find … land to build permanent structures to use year-round. These are simple because we don’t have the land permanently.”

One of the greenhouses will be used as a community garden, where there will be plots available for use just like Silvana’s Community Gardens in Silverthorne.

Rybak also noted that the alliance is seeking to hire a farmer/greenhouse staffer by the beginning of April and it’s seeking volunteers to serve on an advisory committee. Donations for the new project are being accepted as well.

Summit County Seniors can volunteer in the greenhouses in exchange for garden plots.

To construct the alliance greenhouses, a “build a greenhouse” workshop will be put on by Harrington at the Alpine Earth Center on April 11 (the intro class) and at the senior center from April 17-18 (onsite building).

These dates will be weather dependent and work could be delayed until the first week in May.

Once completed, the greenhouses will operate for 179 days. No electricity is required and water is already there.

Harrington said “quite a few” people have already signed up for greenhouse volunteer opportunities, but more participants are still needed.

“The process for putting this project together is going to take a little more than two days,” he said. “We’re planning to have most of the raised beds built and filled before we put up the greenhouses.”

Harrington said he favors using raised garden beds for this project as they’re easier to work with and maintain – raised beds help heat the soil and plants since the ground in Summit County is often cold. The greenhouses will be unheated.

For more information about the Summit Prevention Alliance, visit To find out more about LiveWell Colorado, visit To learn about the Alpine Earth Center, visit

Contact Rybak for more information at (970) 453-9333 or

Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at

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