Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
This deep winter greenhouse/root cellar project extends our growing year round to overcome terrible weather and bad food in Northern MN
74 backers pledged $8,242 to help bring this project to life.
Last updated

About

Lida Farm Deep Winter Greenhouse and Root Cellar Project project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

$8,242

74

The Main Idea:  We would like to take winter vegetable production in Northern Minnesota to a new level.  A number of other farms in our region have built "deep winter" greenhouses, a passive-solar design which successfully uses a warm air pumped into a heat sink underground to moderate temperatures (info on current designs).  In a climate where we can reach -20 to -30 degrees and long stretches of sub-zero weather, we propose to add another heating layer to our friends' current designs by adding solar thermal panels.  The greenhouse will allow us to grow cold-tolerant greens through the entire winter. We will complement these greens with storage crops from an attached root cellar, which is also part of the project.  Since we are veterans of vegetable production in Minnesota, we feel this is the right move to extend our season and meet the needs of local eaters in search of good food at a time of the year when we most crave it.  Backers can benefit directly by becoming members of our winter CSA or indirectly by supporting this low-energy solution to winter food production.  We will translate our learnings to other farmers.  

Project Size, Construction, and Technical Details: We have already moved a small cottage on-site and excavated for the greenhouse.   

Cottage on-site near recent excavation
Cottage on-site near recent excavation

The cottage is situated on the edge of a hill and provides a ready back wall for the greenhouse. The hillside topography will provide more constant temperatures as we will be building well below the frostline.  The greenhouse will stand 16 feet tall allowing for a steep angle to let in as much light as possible in the depths of winter.  Four feet below grade we will build a super-insulated foundation where we will place tiling and rock for a solar air heat sink and the radiant floor tubing to be connected to the solar thermal panels.  Since we already use our outdoor wood boiler for all our winter heating needs, this system will quickly tie into existing infrastructure and assure us of back up heat source when solar is not available.  The greenhouse itself will be 32 feet long by 16 feet wide, a good size for a winter growing structure and will surely meet our needs for a modest 20-30 member winter CSA (in start up phase).  We will cover the greenhouse with double-walled polycarbonate (as seen on original "Garden Goddess" greenhouse below), which retains more heat than plastic and is traditional in greenhouses like these.  

Polycarbonate on original "Garden Goddess" deep winter greenhouse
Polycarbonate on original "Garden Goddess" deep winter greenhouse

The extra 9-foot by 14-foot space in front of the cottage and adjacent the greenhouse will be the root cellar. This is modestly-sized, however, scale appropriate for our off-season CSA and production. Currently some off-season crops are stored in a 6 x 6 alcove where our well pump sits - far from ideal. Like the greenhouse, we will use simple timber construction to keep the project at a somewhat low cost. After much research, the project will use evacuated solar thermal tubes for heating. These come in panels of 20-30 tubes and hit a higher temperature than flat plate panels, which will complement the high heat in our wood boiler. Since the cottage roof will extend 4 feet higher than the greenhouse itself, this will provide a perfect elevated space to catch solar in the depths of winter. In time, we can easily add other panels to this systems to add heating capacity, which would allow us to heat the cottage, possibly for farmstay purposes.

Evacuated tube solar collector
Evacuated tube solar collector

 Budget:

  • $2,000 - Excavation
  • $5,000 - Wood and building materials 
  • $1,500 - Polycarbonate sheets for covering
  • $1,500 - Labor costs
  • $800 - Rock and sand material
  • $4,500 - Solar thermal system
  • $800 - Radiant floor materials

How we are going to pull this off:  I am friends with 3 other growers in the region who have constructed deep winter greenhouses, including Carol Ford who constructed the first in our region with her late husband Chuck Waibel of Garden Goddess fame.  Now organized in the emerging Deep Winter Producers Association, there is a growing community of small-scale growers learning and building together.  Chuck Waibel designed his first greenhouse to be built inexpensively using easily sourced materials.  For example, my friends Sue Wika and Tom Prieve at Paradox Farm built their 16 x 24 greenhouse for $5,000 in materials.  I expect our costs to be closer to $16,000 due to the added costs of the solar thermal system, increased size, and some hired labor.  Jeremy Fischer, deep winter greenhouse technologist who helped construct Sue and Tom's greenhouse a year ago, will be chief mastermind for our project, so we have some direct experience on deck.  Also, being a farmer, we have a knack for delving into projects and seeing them through.  I think it comes from having to make it through a growing season year-in and year-out no matter what's thrown at us.  

We are looking to kickstarter this project with $5,000+ and will make up the difference with sales from the farm and a line of credit at our local community bank.  

Risks and challenges

There are two main risks related to this project: construction and deep-winter growing. I think we have the skills in place to overcome these risks.

On the growing front, we have over 13 years of experience growing produce commercially and operating a CSA. We have done some season extension in high and low tunnels and have been operating and maintaining a greenhouse for that same time. After this many seasons, we've seen a lot of issues and have the grit to pull through just about any farming mis-hap. As a worse case scenario, we know we can store crops with existing structures into December and grow crops in shoulder seasons (fall and spring) should unforeseen production issues arise. In this way, we will be able to fulfill our reward obligations, albeit at a slightly different time of year.

On the construction side, we have retained the services of Jeremy Fischer, deep winter greenhouse technologist to be our chief carpenter and designer. Jeremy has years of experience in both construction and growing and put up one of the few deep winter greenhouses operating in our region at Paradox Farm near Ashby. With this experience and the assistance of a large contingent of supporters, family, and fellow farmers who have already volunteered their help, we will get this thing built this year.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Receive a thank you postcard of the completed project and a place on our virtual dedication wall on our blog.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    4 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Receive a place on the dedication wall in the deep winter greenhouse and a thank you postcard of the completed project.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    9 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Cool official Lida Farm supporter sticker plus a place on the dedication wall in the greenhouse. You will also receive a thank you postcard of the completed project. Ships anywhere in the US.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    1 backer
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Two packets of heirloom tomato seeds saved from our production on-farm. We have Cherokee Purple, San Marzano (Roma type) and Green Zebra. Let us know which two you'd like. You will also receive the cool sticker, thank you postcard, and place on the dedication wall.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 6 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Instant herb garden. Receive with a mix of plants raised in the greenhouse, such as basil, rosemary, thyme, lavender, and oregano so you are set for next summer. You must pick up on farm. You will also receive a place on dedication wall and thank you postcard.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Tomato plant mix. Get a start on your garden with this mix of 12 organically-grown tomato plants, including heirlooms, cherry tomatoes, and standard slicers. You must pick up on farm. You will also receive a place on dedication wall and thank you postcard.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Pepper plant mix. Get a start on your garden with this mix of 12 organically-grown pepper plants. You must PICK UP at FARM. You will also receive a place on dedication wall and thank you postcard.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    One pound of fresh greens in the dead of winter for pickup on farm or delivery within 25 miles of farm. You will also receive a place on dedication wall and thank you postcard.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Get a hold of the book which started it all! Receive a copy of the Northlands Winter Greenhouse Manual signed by the author Carol Ford. The book gives you plans about building and growing in your own deep winter greenhouse. Ships anywhere in the US.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 2 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    One box of Lida Farm-raised foods including winter greens and storage veggies for pickup on farm or delivered within 25 miles of the farm. You will also receive a thank you postcard and a place on our dedication wall.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 6 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Winter on-farm dinner to christen new deep winter greenhouse and root cellar for two people plus a thank you postcard and place on the dedication wall.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 5 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    One winter CSA share. Receive one season of storage crops and winter greens (5 deliveries between November and March). You will also receive a thank you postcard, a place on the dedication wall, and an invitation to the deep winter christening party on-farm. Delivery of CSA shares is only available in our regular delivery area of Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids, and nearby lakes areas unless willing to pick up at farm.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 5 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    One every-other week CSA summer share. Receive a delivery of produce in season every other week during our typical summer season (late June through Oct). You will also receive a thank you postcard, a place on the dedication wall, and an invitation to the deep winter christening party on-farm. Delivery of CSA shares is only available in our regular delivery area of Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids, and nearby lakes areas unless willing to pick up at farm.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Two seasons of storage crops and winter greens (5 deliveries in winter 2014-15 and 5 deliveries in winter 2015-16). You will also receive a thank you postcard, a place on the dedication wall, and an invitation to the deep winter christening party on-farm. Delivery of CSA shares is only available in our regular delivery area of Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids, and nearby lakes areas unless willing to pick up at farm.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $550 or more About $550

    One full CSA summer share. Receive a full share of produce in season for 16 weeks delivered to your home or business in our regular delivery area. You will also receive a thank you postcard, a place on the dedication wall, and an invitation to the deep winter christening party on-farm. Delivery of CSA shares is only available in our regular delivery area of Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids, and nearby lakes areas unless willing to pick up at farm.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    The "I'm-all-in" share. Receive two seasons of the winter CSA (5 deliveries in winter 2014-15 and 5 deliveries in winter 2015-16) plus a full season to our traditional summer CSA (every week for 16 weeks from late June - Oct). You will also receive the thank you postcard, a place on the dedication wall, and invitation to the deep winter christening party for two. Delivery of CSA shares is only available in our regular delivery area in Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Pelican Rapids, and nearby lakes areas unless willing to pick up at farm.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 4 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    For the "I-want-to-directly-support-clean-energy" kind of person, you get naming rights to one of the solar thermal evacuated tubes collectors dedicated with a commemorative plaque. These highly-efficient tubes collect and concentrate solar heat, which directly heats the greenhouse and also charges underground storage for when the sun isn't shining. This pledge amount fetches admittance for two to our deep winter greenhouse christening dinner. You will also receive a thank you postcard and a place on the dedication wall.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 2 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)