Spotlight on the John Bosco House and their Hydroponic Program
The John Bosco House is a New York State-certified transitional residence that serves homeless and runaway young men, ages 16 to 21. John Bosco House residents receive care and case management in a home-like setting, while working towards finishing their education and securing stable employment. About four years ago, the John Bosco House was gifted a building that sat empty until May of 2012. After considerable research, Deacon Gilbert Nadeau, executive director and founder of John Bosco House, saw an opportunity to turn the unused space into an organic greenhouse enterprise.
“Our plan was to use the building in some way to support our program,” Deacon Nadeau explains. “After considerable research, we began growing microgreens and baby veggies to supply local restaurants and markets. Proceeds help support our programs, and our young men learn job skills and a solid work ethic by volunteering a few hours a week in the greenhouse.”
The decision to grow hydroponically began as a test in December 2012. After doing research about hydroponic growing options, Deacon Nadeau came across Growers Supply and decided to purchase a vertical 4-tier, 20’, 8-channel grow rack to serve as their test kit. He explained that Growers Supply had the best channel design for the operation’s needs. “Growers Supply has a good reputation for customer service,” Deacon Nadeau states. “I also was impressed by the instructional YouTube videos about greenhouses,” he continues.
As the greenhouse operations grew, accounts started asking Deacon Nadeau for lettuce varieties to be supplied year round. “Up until that time,” he explains, “we had only been growing in organic soil using 5-gallon buckets and 10” x 20” flats.” When the need for year-round produce came up, “Our research showed us that hydroponically grown lettuce suited our needs and space requirements,” Nadeau says. As the operation began to take off, the need to expand led Deacon Nadeau to Growers Supply again, this time purchasing 160 linear feet of channels. Since then, another 560 feet of channel has been added. “We plan on adding another 700 to 1,000 linear feet of channel in the next year,” Deacon Nadeau states.
The only ‘problem’ that Deacon Nadeau seems to have now is keeping up with the demand for his produce! “We have a major supermarket chain that is purchasing everything we can grow!” he explains. He continues, “Our products are basically pre-sold to our accounts. As we expand our hydroponic operation, we can add more accounts and supermarket units.”
The decision to grow hydroponically has been a great option for the John Bosco House. “Since we are growing hydroponically,” Nadeau explains, “there is obviously no soil cost. This is a significant savings.” The reduction of labor is also a benefit Nadeau has seen from growing hydroponically. The quality, reasonable prices, fast shipping and easy-to-use nature of the products are just a few reasons that Nadeau enjoys Growers Supply.
To learn more about The John Bosco House and their hydroponic-growing operations, visit www.JohnBoscoHouse.org.