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Sierra Growing Classroom




Tahoe Food Hub is developing an education farm for students of the Tahoe-Truckee community, the Sierra Growing Classroom (SGC).  The SGC will be in close proximity to all schools in North Lake Tahoe located in downtown Truckee next to Plumas Bank on Donner Pass Rd. Plumas Bank is providing the land adjacent to their parking lot along Donner Trail Road next to Meadow Park by the Truckee-Donner PUD. We are in the middle of a capital campaign to raise $50,000 for the completion of this project. That will cover site preparation, construction costs and first year operations. Click link below to contribute to this Farm to School campaign.

The Sierra Growing Classroom (SGC) is a program of the Tahoe Food Hub’s Farm to School Program and Dome Raising Project. Its purpose is to educate our mountain community about agriculture in an alpine ecosystem.  The goal is to provide students of North Lake Tahoe with a hands-on learning experience in an outdoor classroom as well as an additional resource for adults to learn about the importance of local food and sustainable farming practices. People young and old will learn how we can further increase our own food security by growing food locally in the mountains using 4-season growing techniques.

Funding for this project would develop an agricultural campus where young people, as well as adult community members, can learn about growing food in the Sierra using a variety of 4-season growing techniques. The campus would be built around a geodesic greenhouse or Growing Dome. Growing Domes are a 4-season growing structure appropriate for cold, snowy climates. They are designed and manufactured by Growing Spaces in Pagosa Springs, CO. A variety of features work together to naturally heat and cool the dome making it one of the most efficient greenhouses on the market. Growing Domes harness Tahoe’s 280+ days of sunlight helping an otherwise non-food producing region become more food secure and establish a regional food system. Growing Domes come as a kit from the manufacturer and takes five people 3-4 four days to assemble after the site has been excavated, leveled and prepped.

Surrounding the Growing Dome will be raised garden beds with cold frames which demonstrate that with limited space and resources, anyone can extend the season and grow in their backyard. Other features include a spiral garden, composting bins, shaded gathering space, wood fired pizza oven and a variety of permaculture elements.

For school-aged children of Truckee-Tahoe, the SGC provides a unique opportunity to learn not only about food and where it comes from, but also about science and math through a systems-based approach. Curriculum developed will parallel California Common Core using Next Generation Science Standards, meeting teachers’ needs while providing students with opportunities to learn cooperatively through hands-on lessons and develop skills in systems-thinking.

The type of programming provided by SGC addresses a need for community members to reestablish a connection to food that supports their health and wellbeing. Education at the SGC aims to counter the tide of diet-related health diseases that are becoming America’s cultural norm. By offering positive experiences growing, preparing and eating wholesome foods we are laying the foundation for eating habits that support healthy, productive lives. People in our mountain communities are not typically exposed to growing a food garden because few families in the region maintain home gardens due to misconceptions about our ability to grow food at high elevations and in cold climates. The Tahoe Food Hub’s lessons, tours, workshops and volunteer opportunities serve to reestablish these connections and inspire community members to see themselves as participants in an active and productive foodshed.

Contribute to this community based project by making a donation. Click the icon below!