Friday, April 20, 2018

(How About) A Greenhouse Walking Track Community Center

A Concept Statement.

(Greenhouse on the Biltmore Estate - Dale S. Rogers)
Imagine — not just "picture," since scent is central to this— a lush, leafy greenhouse under a large, arching glass ceiling, filled with beautiful, breathing plants, most of which are also food.  It's warm, with an invigorating light moisture in the air.

Then, winding its way through this living space, a walking track, a footpath under the bowers, interspersed with fountains and benches.  There's a space in one corner, say about 25 x 25 ft., where near sundown the shelves of plants usually growing there can be swung into wheeled stacks and moved to open it up for meetings, small performances, etc.

The small café, its tables tucked in under the leaves, is always open starting later in the day, once all the work on the plants is through.  The music is selected for the tastes of the plants, the food for the people's.

You began coming here (remember, we're still imagining,) because you heard the walking path was very pleasant, and maybe to look at the various foods grown there and for sale.  But definitely hearing that interesting and generally healthier types of people were getting together there was an influence.

Once you'd been in there a couple times, you noticed how much you looked forward to that first in-breath of oxygen-rich air when you walked in the double door, and your step always became just a bit livelier.

Eventually you became a member, because you fell in love with all of it.  Membership in the co-op means that you get the best price and first crack at every new crop, with a year-round food share of whatever best grows in each season and cycle, and preferential choices for walking times and meeting space use.

You even looked forward to the open member meetings because you liked a lot of the people, and came to feel a common cause with them.

Now, realistically, we all know that good and even helpful ideas can and do run aground as easily as bad ones.  So any idea worth its salt has to stand up to a few good rounds of How's It Work, What-If and Then-What?

The key idea is that the combination of a strong, (literally) healthy Membership program, and the café (which could expand into a restaurant if the demand is there), could ease the enterprise out of the brutal stream of making it work exclusively as a retail operation on what's grown for sale.

Okay, sounds ducky; but "What If" it doesn't work?

If it didn't fly as this multipurpose dreamhouse, it could still be easily turned into simply a commercial greenhouse — unless the winter fitness or restaurant crowds are what draw the main support, who knows? — and I'll just need to find somewhere else to walk in the winter, even year-round.

It would so cool if someone would do this; I'd consider moving there and becoming your first member, how's that?

(April 20, 2018)

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