Hope Blooms kids design new greenhouse, ready for construction work

Haley Ryan, Metro Halifax
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HALIFAX - After months of research and design planning for a state-of-the-art greenhouse, 14-year-old Kolade Boboye and a few friends are ready to trade in their schoolbooks for hard hats.

Kolade Boboye, a junior leader with Hope Blooms, holds a scale model of the new greenhouse.

Boboye, a member of the Hope Blooms group who appeared on CBC’s Dragon’s Den last fall, helped land $40,000 for their salad dressing business and will lend a hand on the work site.

“It’s quite exciting to be part of the construction,” said Boboye, who wants to be an engineer and liked drawing the designs. “I feel like I’m a part of the community and I can help.”

Jessie Jollymore, dietician and Hope Blooms lead, said plans for the large greenhouse are finished but they’re waiting on building permits before announcing when and where the structure will go up.

She said the building “doesn’t look like a typical greenhouse” since every aspect was designed for maximizing light and rainwater collection. Instead of glass, they’re hoping to use a sturdy transparent material for the windows.

Build Right Nova Scotia, a cooperative of unionized contractors and tradespeople, are building the greenhouse for free alongside construction company Aecon, but take a lot of direction from the kids.

“They’ve really been coming up with ideas that professionals well beyond their years don’t even think of,” said Build Right project manager Trent Soholt.

“The ideas are so phenomenal we just started to find ways to incorporate as much as we could.”

Soholt said construction should begin early this summer, and take a month or so to finish.

The extra crops, new teaching space in the greenhouse and ground oven will increase the community’s food security by helping people plant their own food and learn “frugal gourmet” recipes, Jollymore said.

They hope to grow 3,000 pounds of food this year and sell 6,000 bottles of dressing, which means $12,000 into the kid’s scholarship fund. Jollymore said now they really need an industrial-sized kitchen to handle the growing dressing business.

Jollymore said the Hope Blooms kids have a new mindset after positive attention came pouring from across the country after their TV appearance.

“Before, they felt like nobody cared about the youth in Uniacke Square … but now they’re like ‘Wow, lots of people care and lots of people want us to succeed. We do have good ideas and we are smart,’” said Jollymore.

“It’s that whole change in how they see themselves.”

Organizations: CBC

Geographic location: Uniacke Square

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