In this Sept. 1, 2015, photo, Lily West, left, and Logan Strong plant seeds for their school's wood-heated aquaponics greenhouse in Kasaan, Alaska. The state has released a new guidebook that other Alaska schools and community groups how to build greenhouses heated with a plentiful local resource, wood. (Colter Barnes via AP)

Alaska counters lack of fresh veggies with greenhouse guide

May 12, 2017 - 4:52 am

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Greenhouses have long been an option for increasing the limited growing season in Alaska, but they're too expensive to operate for many remote communities that rely on costly imported diesel fuel for their power source.

Now the state has released a handbook that shows schools and community groups how to build greenhouses heated with a plentiful local resource: wood.

The new 98-page guide notes successes in the fledgling movement by several schools.

Officials say the biomass boilers used for the greenhouses are unlike the inefficient wood-burning stoves and outdoor boilers that have created a huge pollution problem in Fairbanks. They say the greenhouse equipment is far more efficient, burning most of the pollution that otherwise would go into the atmosphere.

The guide was funded by federal and state grants totaling $150,000. It involved input from multiple entities, including those with successful projects of their own.

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