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Greenhouse operations gearing up locally and nationwide
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Fairfield, Iowa, United States
16 March 2004
University officials held a ground-breaking ceremony last week to inaugurate a new project to establish 1,200 acres of greenhouses around the U.S. and to inaugurate the construction of the University's 43,000-square-foot greenhouse at Maharishi Vedic City Organic Farms, a step that will be key to healthy food on campus and to saving money.
In addition, Maharishi Vedic City just last week put the plastic on its own 52,000 square-foot greenhouse, with a goal of quickly expanding to nearly 100 times that size.
According to Maharishi Vedic City official Maureen Wynne, each greenhouse will produce about 800 pounds of food a day. She said that a 43,000-square-foot greenhouse is about one acre -- the equivalent of about two Golden Domes. The operation there will eventually be 100 acres, a very large greenhouse by U.S. standards.
The University's chief administrative officer, Tom Brooks, has left that position to be the administrative head of this major greenhouse project and to oversee the University project as well.
The University is planting seeds in flats in the two small campus greenhouses, and those will be transplanted into an eight-acre outdoor garden for campus dining. The University's one-acre greenhouse will be constructed this spring.
Ms. Wynne said that Maharishi Vedic City received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for marketing its value-added produce and has now begun creating the promotional materials that will let people know of the regional availability of healthy food.
'I see healthy Maharishi Vedic Organic food as being the next major growth industry in the community,' Ms. Wynne said. She pointed out that this community is already one of the largest consumers of organic food in the country and that there are many cutting-edge organic activities already here, as well as considerable expertise.
'When you think of what most people are eating nowadays -- food services that rely almost exclusively on easily prepared frozen food -- you realize the opportunity,' Ms. Wynne said. 'The food tastes good, but, as Maharishi says, it's poison. We want everyone in the country to be able to have access to nutritious food.'
In addition, she said the enterprise will help support the establishment of Maharishi Vedic Universities and groups of Vedic scholars. Ms. Wynne said that there will be opportunities for people in the community to help in the greenhouses.
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