Campus of Change

Ending Homelessness in the Fox Valley

Looking Back: The COTS Hoop House

Posted on Oct 27, 2021 by
A group of people working together constructing a hoop house (greenhouse) structure
Photos taken on Hoop House construction day in 2011

COTS men’s transitional shelter has a bumper crop of veggies every year, thanks to our hoop house (greenhouse) built by staff, volunteers, and residents in 2011! Residents and staff work together cooperatively to maintain our hoop house each growing season. It produces fresh, organic, nutritious veggies for residents to cook with in our shelters. The hoop house a source for produce, and provides opportunities for meaningful, onsite work and activities. Most COTS residents work at least part-time, and all COTS residents follow a 40-hour weekly schedule of productive activity. For many at our men’s shelter these hours can include time spent in the hoop house. Some residents grew up around agriculture and love the chance to get back to their “roots.” Many others have no gardening experience, and our hoop house is a source for them to try something new.

The photos accompanying this story were taken in 2011 during the original construction of the COTS hoop house. Since then, it has gone through a few transformations, such as housing raised garden beds. This summer, residents grew tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, and peppers. Earlier this year residents and staff built new compost bins, which are filled with compostable materials collected by residents (especially coffee grounds!) and are a rich source of fertilizer for the hoop house. 

This story appeared in the September 2021 COTS e-newsletter

We are so grateful for the gifts and opportunities you, our community of support, bring to COTS residents. Thank you!

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