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Geneva non-profit looks to tackle fresh produce all year

The city is fortunate to have organizations that glean fresh produce each summer and fall for distribution to people of modest means.

However, the need doesn’t end with the fall harvest.

A Geneva-based non-profit is looking to address that need.

Thanks to a $100,000 grant secured from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Blueprint Geneva has opened a 2,800-square-foot greenhouse designed to provide fresh produce for Geneva residents with limited access to healthy food.

“We applied for the grant over the summer, and we were glad to get it,” said Blueprint President Jackie Augustine, who explained that the agency’s mission is to identify community needs and find answers to address them.

Now it just needs someone to run the greenhouse, which is funded for 18 months. Augustine said it’s currently overseen by a volunteer.

The greenhouse, in the former Stark Street Gardeners complex in Waterloo, is being leased from the owners, Victor and Jenna Pultinas, owners of Lake Drum Brewing in Geneva.

Spinach and radishes are the first plantings, Augustine indicated, adding that the 18-month period will help the greenhouse manager determine the best crops to grow there.

The greenhouse manager would be paid as a private contractor, she said. The contract pays $9,000, which will be paid in quarterly increments based on project benchmarks.

The produce grown during the winter months will be distributed through the city’s community lunch program, food pantries and the various Little Free Farmstand locations in the city, Augustine said.

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