Coming — a greenhouse near you. 

Several local organizations are about to launch a community wide plan to grow communal vegetables in five greenhouses spread around Whistler.

The idea is the brainchild of local psychologist Dr. Stephen Milstein who built and operated his own 15- by -20 foot greenhouse all summer.

"I haven’t bought a vegetable in three months," said Milstein.

He was so excited by the quantity and quality of produce he was able to produce he approached the municipality and Community Services to help him launch the Community Greenhouses Project.

The project has also been invited to apply for a grant from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation.

The hope is that at the beginning of November greenhouses will be placed at Myrtle Philip Elementary, Spring Creek Elementary, Whistler Secondary, Alta Lake School and a yet to be determined site in Function Junction.

Discussions are underway with the Howe Sound School Board about locating the greenhouses on school property.

But if the reception Milstein’s plan was given at this weeks Myrtle Philip Parents Advisory Council meeting is anything to go by it looks like both parents and kids would love to have the greenhouses close to the school.

The idea, said Milstein, would be for each family to pay about $25 for a year to grow vegetables in a raised box in the greenhouse. However, no family would be refused a growing box if it was determined they had need.

Organic seeds would be provided and volunteers would help families as needed. There would also be helpers to look after the gardens if people went on holiday.

Students would get involved and volunteers would help the class projects as well.

One third to one half of the produce would be given to the local food bank as part of the social sustainability aspect of the plan and the Function Junction site would be dedicated to growing food for the food bank.

"The project hooks into the municipality’s sustainability plans very well," said Milstein.

"And there is no doubt that growing your own vegetables is far better for the environment and society than trucking them from Mexico."

Milstein started his own greenhouse in June. He grew carrots, lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, squash, zucchini, peppers, celery, artichokes, green beans, tomatoes, green onions and a host of herbs.

He chose not to grow corn so that wandering bruins wouldn’t be tempted to break in and forage in his garden.

"I have a bear that walks within three feet of the greenhouse every night and has shown no interest in it whatsoever," said Milstein.

The growing boxes are raised off the ground. Each one would have three inches of gravel and 18 inches of mushroom manure and topsoil mixed together. A watering line would be placed two inches below the surface and a heat tracer wire is also placed in the soil to lengthen the growing period.

Milstein believes vegetables could be grown from March until October with this arrangement.

For more information on the project contact Milstein at 604 938 3511.

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