Growing Food - Nurturing People
Controlled Environment Horticulture (CEH)
CEH, a 501 (c) (3) corporation is increasing it’s
production of food utilizing indoor hydroponic technology and sustainable
outdoor gardens at our greenhouse complex in the Borough of Franklin Park .
This important component of our Farm to Table Project builds upon our original
mission to use hydroponics and gardening for horticultural therapy and the
training and employment of persons with disabilities . Phase 1 of the project
includes expansion of the existing hydroponic production of lettuce , herbs ,
microgreens and specialty food items ; expansion of the outdoor gardens and
education programs ; and the introduction of apiaries and chicken coops.
Start up of the project has been funded and
implemented with the collaboration of CEH tenants Sewickley Creek Greenhouse
and REAP. The outdoor gardens were constructed by students from the Community
College of Allegheny County which has managed a Vocational Education program
for persons needing learning supports at the CEH greenhouse complex for the
past 20 years . Students in this program
and individuals from the Watson Institute , LifesWork of Western Pa and several
local high schools will be involved in the future construction and operation of
all project components . All participants will be exposed to the concept of the
production of local , nutritious food and in time these concepts will be
formally added to the training programs . During the early stages most produce
has been distributed to employees and students . An initial sale of lettuce was
made to the Pittsburgh Food Kitchen and CEH anticipates future opportunities to
work with local food banks and organizations that are participating in efforts to
make local nutritious food available to vulnerable populations. CEH plans to
make the project a community asset.
Implementation of this Farm to Table Project will
utilize the same social enterprise model and collaborative efforts that have
allowed CEH to provide training to more than 500 individuals with various
disabilities since 1994. All vocational and life skill development programs are
integrated into the production of flowers , vegetable plants and other horticultural
products that when sold generate the revenue to sustain CEH .
CEH and it’s partners are looking forward to the
ongoing benefits this project can provide to the programs hosted at our
greenhouse and to other’s in the area that have similar missions .