Last week I (Daniel) took a trip out to Gap, PA to visit the nice folks at Sunsetview Aquaponics and tour their innovative greenhouse. Sunsetview is run by a second generation Amish plumber with the help of his family and a pair of beautiful bovines. Despite its name, it produces all of its produce using Aeroponic systems. With a capacity for 4000 plants from floor to ceiling, strolling through the lettuce orchard is a magnificent and futuristic experience.
Sam, the owner and head grower has been working on designing their own aeroponic systems that were under development, so I couldn’t snap any photos, but what I can say is that they have some truly impressive and innovative systems that I can’t wait to get my hands on.
A large part of the philosophy at Sunsetview is to include the local community and schools with enriching opportunities to participate throughout the growing process. Once a week a group, of handicapped students from the local school district comes in to help with everything from seeding to harvesting. Engineering students from Messiah College helped to develop the water dispersion cap that delivers nutrient solution to the roots in their growing towers. The greenhouse also serves as a community hub for sustainable and green-focused workshops.
My good friend Dr. T.H. Culhane from Mercy College took the trip down with me to give a presentation for local community members on biodigester technology to create natural gas, compost, and liquid fertilizer all from organic waste.
Sam’s greenhouse is truly beautiful – vertical, focused on simplicity and easy maintenance. Sunsetview does tours throughout the year so if you’re interested in touring their greenhouse for yourself give ’em a call! (717) 768-3597