Donated greenhouse at Holcomb Farm helps feed needy families

by Rob Levandowski and Mike Grayeb

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A team of volunteers from the South Windsor Rotary Club is making its mark in the fight against hunger in Connecticut by donating and constructing a new 26-foot-wide, 48-foot-long greenhouse for the Hartford Food System‘s (Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project at the Holcomb Farm.

“We hear about cutbacks in government spending, we hear about a poor economy and that donations are down. When all that happens, we can’t stop producing food, we can’t stop meeting people’s needs, and we can’t stop finding good educational opportunities for people in our area,” said Mark Winne, Executive Director of

“Having our own greenhouse has been our dream since the beginning,” said Elizabeth Wheeler, Director of Agricultural Programs at

Al Rodrigue, president of the South Windsor Rotary Club, explained his club’s involvement. “Connecticut is the richest state in the country, and yet it also has some of the poorest cities,” said Rodrigue. “As this greenhouse helps

The CSA project serves over a thousand low-income Hartford residents who are able to purchase organic produce from the project at an affordable cost. The project also introduces hundreds of children and their parents to food-crop farming and trains a new generation of farmers.

The greenhouse arrives on the 10-year anniversary of the CSA project. The Rotary Club of South Windsor, pooling funds raised locally with additional funds from The Rotary Foundation, donated nearly $4,000 to the project, and its members donated their time and talents to build the greenhouse. Members of the youth staff of the CSA project also helped with the construction.

The greenhouse helps the CSA project in many ways. It frees the project from its dependence on purchased seedlings, allows specific varieties of produce to be grown to meet members’ desires, helps produce more food, and provides an excellent setting for teaching activities.

The Hartford Food System is a Connecticut-based private, nonprofit organization established in 1978 that focuses on enabling people in the state to have access to high quality, nutritious, and affordable food. HFS, visit For more information on Rotary International, visit

This article was originally published in the July/August 2003 issue of The Granby Drummer.

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