Dayton, Nevada – In 2010 Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties, a nonprofit based in Dayton, began strategically working toward improving our local food system to provide food to residents in need in our communities. These efforts have included school and community gardens, a farmers market, and food pantries in Yerington, Dayton and Silver Springs.
Now, after more than a decade of work in food security, Healthy Communities is poised to once again expand their efforts in the Western Nevada region. The nonprofit is now operating the greenhouse that was the former home of Dayton Valley Aquaponics. Healthy Communities’ staff and volunteers have been busily preparing the building to grow healthy, fresh food for our communities. The program is part of Healthy Communities’ Rural Health and Nutrition Initiative.
The greenhouse building was formerly run as an aquaponics facility but will no longer have fish as part of the operation. Volunteers have been hard at work transitioning beds to soil from Full Circle Compost and planting seeds and starts in the facility.
Healthy Communities hopes that the 25,000 square foot greenhouse will serve as a regional food hub. The short-term goal is to grow fresh produce for farmers markets, local restaurants, and Healthy Communities’ three food pantries. Locals will be able to enjoy the fruits and vegetables grown in the facility as early as this summer.
The longer-term plans for the building include developing the existing prep space into a community commercial kitchen, offering cooking and food preservation classes with the agency’s SNAP-Ed program, providing internships for high school students and hosting workshops for community members and students to learn how to grow their own gardens at home.
“Although we have undertaken many activities to improve food security and sustainability in our region, it’s time to do more,” says Healthy Communities’ Food Systems Manager Cortney Bloomer. “That’s why we are working to improve our food system for rural Nevadans. The challenges faced by our neighbors necessitate that we continue to find new solutions to increase food access.”
Together, area farmers, schools, agencies, businesses and volunteers are working to strengthen our local food system to create economic opportunities for farmers and food entrepreneurs; expand access to healthy, affordable food for local residents; and meet growing demand for healthy, local food.
Healthy Communities’ Rural Health and Nutrition Initiative (RHNI) is welcoming those who want to volunteer at the greenhouse, located at 175 River Road in Dayton, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm, or by appointment.
Those who want to help but are unable to volunteer can make a tax-deductible donation to the project online at http://www.healthycomm.org/donate or by mailing a check to Healthy Communities Coalition, P.O. Box 517 Dayton, NV 89403 with RHNI in the subject line.
To learn more, visit the Rural Health and Nutrition Initiative’s Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/RHNINevada.