Progress on the Diana Eisman Community Greenhouse Continues

Posted on April 19, 2024 by Alicia Alferman

Back in September, Cultivate KC obtained a building permit for an exciting new project that will benefit New Roots farmers and the Kansas City, KS urban farming community, the Diana Eisman Community Greenhouse. Diana’s friends, family, and coworkers joined us at the Groundbreaking Ceremony to dedicate the greenhouse in tribute to a special woman who would have truly delighted in the space and all it will represent. Thanks to several donors, including Diana’s longtime employer, C2FO, we were able to begin construction on this 6,000 square foot greenhouse, washstand, and cooler space immediately. 

Before the close of 2023, we worked to set the foundation for the structure. We started by establishing corners of the greenhouse and washstand, and elevation levels were evaluated. Due to a 4-foot drop from one end of the lot to the other, existing asphalt had to be removed, and gravel was spread to regrade the lot. Footing concrete was poured for the area reserved for two 40-foot shipping containers to sit. The shipping containers will serve as cold storage and walls for the washstand area.  

The next step was pouring a 20′ x 40′ concrete pad for our shipping containers to sit atop. The washstand area will operate in between the two containers. Due to rain and snow we received in the winter months, additional gravel work was required to ensure our shipping containers could be delivered and properly unloaded, as (fun fact!) it takes 130 feet of straight drive-away room for a 40-foot container to be eased in next to the concrete pad. The shipping containers were delivered and successfully installed before the end of the year.  

Our greenhouse kit arrived just before the holidays, and what a gift it was to receive! With the help of a dozen volunteers, we completed the lengthy task of hand unloading the kit from the delivery truck, and accounting for hundreds of its components.  

We spent January and February attaching welding to bridge our washstand roof between the shipping containers, as well as digging LOTS of holes, setting posts, with concrete to square out the structure of the greenhouse. There were fifty-one holes dug for sixty-eight posts! The center of the greenhouse is double posted, explaining the numeric difference in holes vs. posts.  

Spring brought with it the most noticeable development of our washstand- the bones for our roof, or trusses and purlins, for the construction-savvy folks out there. Trusses are the wooden pieces that run the width of the building, with purlins running the length. Second fun fact: There are exactly eight hundred nails attaching the trusses to the storage containers, not counting any used for the rest of the roof structure. One individual person nailed every single tie to the storage containers. Impressive! Additionally, we’ve begun adding the finished floor gravel of the greenhouse before truss installation begins there. 

Plans for the next few weeks include pouring concrete for a sidewalk down the center of our greenhouse, attaching the giant arch trusses, then the purlins for the structure, and of course, attaching our metal roof to the washstand! 

We are excited to catch a glimpse of the finish line, and upon completion, this space will be abuzz with activity, housing transplants in the Spring and Fall for our New Roots farmers and other growers in the area. Cultivate KC is grateful as ever for the individuals working tirelessly to ensure the Diana Eisman Community Greenhouse is a sound, safe, accessible, and welcoming community hub for all.