Planting Seeds of Sustainability

On August 22, Mission Waco, the Green Mountain Energy Sun Club and community leaders celebrated the grand opening of Urban REAP, the first fully sustainable greenhouse in Waco.

The sustainability grant from the Sun Club® equipped Mission Waco with an aquaponics greenhouse, solar power, a rainwater catchment and purification system, composting capabilities and a training center, helping to promote economic sustainability and education to underserved communities.

The Urban REAP project is constructed next to the new Jubilee Food Market, a nonprofit grocery store that opened November 2016 to provide fresh, healthy food to the local neighborhood. The fruits, vegetables and fish that are raised with the new aquaponics system in the greenhouse will be sold in the food market. Engineering students in Baylor’s School of Engineering and Computer Science were also involved in the project by helping design the solar and rainwater catchment components.

Urban REAP Greenhouse facts 

Rainwater
Mission Waco’s 3,000-gallon rainwater capture system will collect up to 23,000 gallons of water each year, turning one inch of rainfall into 640 gallons of usable H0. Mission Waco conserves and reuses the water that Mother Nature gives us for free to water and grow the greenhouse’s plants and gardens.

Solar
The 11.52 kilowatt solar system at Mission Waco generates 17,000 kilowatt-hours of energy annually, preventing 23,620 pounds of carbon emissions. That’s like driving 29,164 fewer miles every year! Over the lifetime of the system, Mission Waco will save more than $49,000 by using clean energy.

Aquaponics
The aquaponics system installed at the greenhouse uses the waste from Mission Waco’s fish to provide nutrients to grow plant life without soil, producing up to 13,000 pounds of produce and 1,250 pounds of fish and crustaceans each year. This will feed over 500 families for an entire week.

Composting
Mission Waco’s composter can treat up to 27,000 kilograms of food waste each year. The organization will use that to aid plant growth in the gardens, as composted food is one of the best nutrients a plant can ask for. Each year, Mission Waco generates 21.5 million tons of food waste. By composting that food, they reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas as taking 2 million cars on the road.

To see the impact Sun Club has made for other local communities, visit the Sun Club recipients page, and for general information or to apply for a sustainability grant for your nonprofit, visit gmsunclub.com.