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Friday, August 23, 2019

Here's an idea for you: How about a geothermal, vertical greenhouse for downtown Cheyenne?

I am a "make the most of what you have" kind of person. As a creative, it's an essential attitude. I like to think of myself as some sort of Artistic MacGuyver.   
Why couldn't I use the same mental tactics to come up with an idea that could not only redefine our city, but make the most out of what we already have and know?
I proposed this idea casually on Facebook several years ago when the debate over the fate of "The Hole"
This vertical greenhouse is proposed for a Chicago housing development.
downtown became a hot topic. Since then I have thought even more about it, and how it could be a positive investment for the business owners in downtown.
What is this idea?
A vertical geothermal greenhouse specializing in hops, veggies and mushrooms. 
Wyoming is historically attached to agriculture and ranching. It is ingrained in our schools; we still have kids in the Future Farmers of America program. This means there is a future in farming, but maybe the face of how we farm needs to change. 
We need closed-cycle systems. You may wonder what that means. It means less waste. It means getting the most out of what you have. It means cooperative efforts between restaurant owners, ranchers, farmers, vermiculture (the controlled growing of worms in specialty structures) workers and the tech industry.
I imagine a large greenhouse, set up with a self-sensing system, including aquaponics, where fish help fertilize and water the plants. I imagine Cheyenne using new technology with this style of agriculture as a way to give back to the community and redefine the worth of what it means to grow your own food.
You've always heard the complaints about Cheyenne's short growing season, yet we have over 300 blue sky days a year. Cheyenne could be growing its own food all year if it was done properly. In just a few years we could have greenhouses all over the city, providing produce, jobs and opportunities for individuals to learn how to grow their own. 
If you are paying attention, inflation on food is a real thing. Teaching a man to grow his own is like teaching him to fish. He will not go hungry, even in the meager times, if he has his own garden. 
I imagine local restaurants and breweries would be proud to offer locally grown products on their menus. Imagine the pride of eating a meal that was completely locally sourced all year round? I mean,
A downtown greenhouse in Valley Verde, Calif.
we go to other states for that kind fare. It's possible to do it here, but it would take magnanimous support. 
I am an idea person, not a business person. I am a person with a lot of experiences. But I have no idea how one person could get an idea this big off the ground, except for interest by members of the community who believe in the idea and have the resources to invest in it. 
So this is me, putting a bug in your ear, Cheyenne. 
Let's move forward with our strong foundation in agriculture, but let's give it the facelift it deserves. Imagine a beautiful big greenhouse downtown. A place you can visit and pick up some plants or seeds or food. A place you would want to take an out-of-town guest, and then take them to a local eatery serving that food. 
Imagine greenhouse nodes in your neighborhood. Imagine us producing enough food to sell to our own grocery stores.
If you can imagine it, then also imagine all the jobs it could provide to those youthful FFA kids who are interested in new farming technologies. Let's give them more opportunities to take their love of farming to the next level. 

Madge Midgley is a local writer.


  1. Our home HVAC is "geothermal" using a 7 Series Waterfurnace ground source heat pump powered by solar PV and residential scale wind turbines.

  2. Love this. I too am an idea person and would love to discuss more of things like this for our wonderful city. Who can I contact?

  3. Jackson Hole is already on board with this type of program- and it looks awesome! Check it out!