Underground greenhouses offer more than just food

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:27 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - You may have been to a greenhouse before, but have you been to one underground? Daniel Nelson, a former facility manager at Pine Ridge School, is in the process of building a greenhouse underground.

The main goal of building underground greenhouses is to extend the growing season and protect crops from the weather. Building a greenhouse underground may cost more to build than above the surface, but Nelson says that the benefits outweigh the costs because of the elements. He says that he has had above greenhouses before, and these were destroyed by wind, hail, and rain.

However, Nelson brought his knowledge of gardening to Pine Ridge School when they started having problems with their students.

“As a facility manager at Pine Ridge School, there was an epidemic of suicides, and the kids were killing themself basically, and we didn’t know what to do, we were all in shock. We just searched for solutions,” said Nelson

Nelson learned more about gardening from reading books and stories his father would tell him when he attended Pine Ridge School. Nelson’s father would tell him about how the school was self-sufficient by providing their own food and growing their own garden. Nelsons goal was to help kids and give them the tools to do more.

“It gave an opportunity to kids to learn gardening that they wouldn’t have normally had. And so, I like to think that it helped, and I know it helped me,” said Nelson.

Nelson wanted to plant a seed in their mind and extend their knowledge by growing their own food.