Ending Type 2 Diabetes One Exercise, Nutrition, and Gardening Class at a Time

Greenhouse Construction!

In Community Garden on October 15, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Mike Tripodina and his staff at GroWell in Cheshire, CT, generously donated a greenhouse last week. Novels are made of these stories. For weeks I spoke with growers around Connecticut. Small growers, big commercial operations – all recommended Mike Tripodina. Meanwhile, there was no money falling off the Fair Haven trees for this project. The week before I expected a group of Yale Graduate students in the garden, I took a deep breath and made the call.

‘Hi! Is this Rebecca Kline, and I am calling for Mike.’

‘Not here right now. What can I help you with? This is Ray.’

I proceeded to talk Ray’s ear off. I don’t think I stopped for literally five minutes straight. Diabetes, prediabetes, low-income neighborhood, health clinic, Chabaso bakery, veggies for the winter, etc. etc. etc.

‘I’ll write a note for Mike to call you back. You can send an email about your program now if you want.’

10 mins later I clicked send, and the email bounced right back into my inbox. When I called GroWell back to confirm the email address, none but Mike himself picked up the phone.

‘This is Rebecca Kline. I just spoke to Ray – I’m calling from the Fair Haven Community Health Center.’

‘Oh yes – I saw the note. You want a bunch of stuff for free.’

And that was the beginning of the Fair Haven Community Health Center and Chabaso Bakery’s relationship with Mike Tripodina and Growell.

Mike offered us a barely-used commercial size greenhouse, that happened to be the exact size of our garden at Chabaso. Charles Negaro, owner and champion of the Chabaso Garden, set up his trucks to pick up the materials the next day and assigned his head of operations to research and ready himself for building the structure.

Below you can see some before and during construction pictures.

To be clear, a greenhouse means that our Diabetes Prevention Program participants can continue to grow their own fresh, organic vegetables through the winter. Heat from the bakery’s ovens will warm the structure day and night, boilers’ water will provide ongoing irrigation, and we will buy seeds using the money we made from the garden’s pesto sale last week.

Greenhouse materials

Yale Graduate students and Chabaso employees bang in the greenhouse foundation poles

Using a plastic water pipe to ensure that the foundation stakes are level

The hoops are up!

The plastic is draped over the hoops

Chabaso employees are extremely talented (and camera-shy:)

Dr. Anne Camp and the proud lead Chabaso employees after draping the plastic

This is looking just like a greenhouse. What a miracle.

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