Growing food in the colder months of the year is a challenge, and growers in colder climates that want to extend the crop-growing season are always looking for a better way to do so. Greenhouses are a great option, but they cost a lot of money to construct and heat during the colder months. The American sustainable agriculture non-profit organization Benson Institute has come up with a set of easy to follow instructions on how to build a much cheaper alternative, the so-called walipini, which means “place of warmth” in Aymara Indian. The walipini is basically an underground, pit greenhouse in which it possible to grow vegetables all year, even in the coldest regions of the world.
The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota has set a goal of building 100 energy-efficient homes during the next five years in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods in the northern region of the city that have been suffering the most during the economic downturn. Homes will be built on vacant, city-owned lots and will be priced between $150,000 and $200,000. Energy efficient and designed to complement surrounding structures, it is expected that the new homes will contribute to increases in property values, along with owner confidence.