A party took place Monday in a vegetable garden on Brunswick Street to celebrate the final approval from the Halifax Regional Municipality to build a new greenhouse for Hope Blooms.
The group of young entrepreneurs from north-end Halifax forged ahead with plans to expand their salad dressing business and build a greenhouse with a $40,000 investment from the CBC reality show Dragons' Den in November.
Jessie Jollymore, a registered dietitian and the woman who got the Hope Blooms project going, said the greenhouse will be right next to the garden, on city land. She said that's why it took seven months to negotiate a site when the money to build it was already in the bank.
"The city and everyone involved has just been over the top with being helpful and looking at how we can make this happen and make a greenhouse that can be usable by the whole community," she said Monday.
"We want it to be big enough so we can have it as a teaching place. So there was a lot of work that had to be done across many different departments."
Construction on the 12-metre-long greenhouse is supposed to start within the month, with the labour and materials being donated by the Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades Council.
Instead of running up a big electricity bill to operate the greenhouse, some of the 50 students in Hope Blooms have been brainstorming energy alternatives with architects who have donated their time to the project. They plan to use energy generated by compost from the garden and organic materials donated by local businesses to run the greenhouse off the grid.
"We're going to have a neat system. It's been done at one other place in Canada," said Jollymore.
"We're going to be gathering materials from local coffee roasters and also the leftovers from the hops used by craft breweries, putting that waste into compost bins outside the greenhouse. There will be pipes taking that energy under and up through the floor of the greenhouse to heat it."
Hope Blooms hopes the new greenhouse will allow it to double its salad dressing production to 15,000 bottles this year.
Thirty families are growing their own food in the community garden on Brunswick Street — at Murray Washington Park beside the former St. Patrick's-Alexandra School — this summer in addition to the students.
The community garden was started there seven summers ago. Herbs are picked and processed into salad dressings by the young members of Hope Blooms.
The dressings sell for $8 a bottle at the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market and finance a student scholarship fund and community nutrition projects.