Greener Than Green

Modernization for Ploughshares Nursery


      The staff at Ploughshares Nursery at Alameda Point has made do with a 10-by-10-foot shed, kindly built as a gift from an Eagle Scout. The staff uses portable solar or a long extension cord for electricity. There’s a Porta-Potty nearby. There’s no heat or storage. And that was fine, for a while. But the grant money came through, the plans were approved and the permits received. So Ploughshares is now breaking ground for an über-green 2,500-square-foot, resource-efficient facility designed by Kahn Designs Associates of Berkeley.
      With federal, city and private grants, Alameda Point Collaborative — the owner and operator of the nursery — is building a permanent home, one that will include electricity, indoor plumbing, retail and educational workshop space and a place to sit down, too, according to Andrea Schorr, APC’s director of social enterprise and Ann Slobod of KDA. With retail and storage space, business offices and a spot to serve up coffee and baked goods, the whole enterprise is poised to take a great leap into a bona fide profitable business. And that is nothing short of wonderful for the members of APC, some of whom are training in horticulture and retail to run the nursery and new building. The design team made nothing but sustainable choices in materials and integration into the landscape at Alameda Point, which makes the project as forward-thinking as the keen minds at APC.
     “The building is going to allow us to significantly expand our product selection,” according to Schorr, to include garden furniture, decorative pots, tools and homesteading supplies, perhaps even chicken feed and apiary equipment. “We want this building to be a demonstration about an environmentally designed building. A place of peace and reflection and relaxation for the local community, and an educational resource to learn about environmentally friendly gardening,” Schorr says.

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