Brody Square Executive Chef Dave Brown and a student look at herbs at the GREENhouse

Bailey GREENhouse Creates Sustainable Community Food Cycle

By Eric Anderson, Communications Assistant

The Bailey GREENhouse will open to the community on Tuesday, October 30 with a celebration showcasing its home-grown herbs and greens, as well as the educational opportunities offered for Michigan State University students.

The grand opening event will feature appetizers prepared with herbs from the Bailey GREENhouse, as well as tours of the GREENhouse where attendees can learn about the role the structure will play in the MSU community as a sustainable food cycle and educational vehicle.

“The Bailey GREENhouse is an example of students growing food for other students,” said Laurie Thorp, director of the Residential Initiative for the Study of the Environment (RISE) program. “The food is as local as you can get because you can’t get any more local than your own backyard. It provides a good opportunity for students who are interested in the GREENhouse to volunteer and learn more.”

The GREENhouse is one of MSU’s many hoop houses, or unheated passive solar greenhouses, used to help farmers extend the growing season and increase, vegetable, fruit and herb production. Planting started in early September and the GREENhouse has already been successful, producing 75 lbs. of herbs that have been used in meals served at Brody Square and the Kellogg Center’s The State Room Restaurant.

Plant production is promoted through the use of composted pre-consumer food waste from Brody Square, making the GREENhouse a model for a sustainable food cycle in a community agriculture setting. Students living and working in Brody Neighborhood have a direct connection to food grown in the Bailey GREENhouse.

“I think a strong sense of community and civic engagement is being brought to Brody Neighborhood by allowing students to become part of the food systems process rather than just being the consuming end of it,” said Allison Stawara, a freshman in the RISE program. “Learning where your food comes from and being able to participate in that process is such a wonderful opportunity to form new perspectives on food production and consumption.”

In addition to showcasing students’ connection with sustainable food, the Bailey GREENhouse grand opening will display MSU’s commitment to new models of food production.
“The GREENhouse will further the university’s goal of creating multi-use living-learning communities,” said horticulture junior Charles Defever. “While it serves an important role as a teaching space on campus, we want to show that a GREENhouse can contribute to any community.”

The Bailey GREENhouse Grand Opening will be on Tuesday, October 30 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds of Bailey Hall in Brody Neighborhood. Remarks from faculty, staff and students will begin at 4:30 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to follow.