PROVIDING FRESH PRODUCE

EMPOWERING OTHERS

UNITING OUR COMMUNITY

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Man Hours Invested

Lettuce Heads Harvested

Households Impacted

THE AQUAPONIC GARDEN

Is housed in a 1500sf commercial grade greenhouse constructed of galvanized steel frame with polycarbonate side walls and wrapped in a 6 mil. solar wrap (bubble wrap) polyethylene material. The greenhouse is designed to operate year round, 365 days a year, with a fully automated heating and cooling system. The aquaponic system is a 5000 gallon closed loop ecosystem that consists of a 1200 gallon fish tank that is home to 300 Tilapia and approximately 750sf of floating grow beds housing about 3600 Bibb lettuce plants of which 400 are harvested on a weekly basis. In addition there is a rock media grow bed and grow towers that provide a variety of harvestable herbs such as cilantro, basil, and oregano. The fish waste is converted by naturally occurring water born bacteria into vital nutrients that are absorbed by the plants which in turn clean the water for recirculation back into the fish tank. This type of system uses approximately 10% of the water used in traditional soil based gardens.

Help Came From Chicago!

We had a wonderful group of young men visiting from Chicago come and help us
harvest and plant this past Saturday. Their efforts helped us touch hundreds of lives
at two pantries and a local school!

11,000 heads in 10 months

Because of the wonderful dedication of our Green Team we have harvested and blessed our community with over 11,000 heads of lettuce in just over 10 months of operation!

Thank you Pioneer Sand and Gravel

The greenhouse has never looked better due to the 7 tons of gravel donated by Pioneer Sand and Gravel.

Thanks to the Uganda Missions Team

Kudos to the Uganda Missions Team for helping us harvest and plant over 400 heads of lettuce!

WHY WE DO IT

This aquaponic garden was born out of a desire to help meet a huge need in our community.

  • We learned that there are over 160,000 people in our region who are food insecure; meaning that they have day-to-day food struggles and even bigger struggles when it comes to eating healthy.
  • Over 23% of all children living in our county live in food insecure households and these unhealthy eating habits has resulted in a 24% higher obesity rate for children living below the poverty rate.
  • Over 450 of these struggling families visit our campus each and every month utilizing the services of the High Plains Helping Hands Food Pantry. While the pantry is able to meet many basic food needs for these families it is very limited in providing adequate healthy vegetable options. Without healthy food options most of these families are destined to stay stuck in a vicious poverty cycle of choosing between hunger and inexpensive heavily processed foods which contribute to their poor health and even poorer outlook on life.

That reality was something we could not turn a blind eye to so after a series of divine appointments, many consultations and lots of prayer we felt compelled to construct an aquaponic greenhouse which would produce a year round healthy food option for hundreds of families in need on a weekly basis.

After launching in June of 2016 we see this “well watered garden” (Isaiah 58:10-12) being used in a variety of ways both locally and globally.

Providing fresh produce to pantry patrons.

We currently supply the High Plains Helping Hands food pantry, the Springs Food Pantry, and the Eastern Plains Community Pantry  with about 1400  heads of Bibb lettuce every month. It’s our desire to build a second greenhouse and become a certified SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) food distribution center offering an affordable, nutritious  food box of vegetables to those in need. We see this as the pathway to helping us  become a place that truly inspires people to live differently by addressing the cultural, affordability, proximity, knowledge and empowerment barriers that seem to keep many of us enslaved to poor eating habits.

Inspiring and uniting our surrounding community.

There is something therapeutic and inspiring about gardening together.  We love how this garden is being used to bring the generations together to bring about health, healing and innovation. Studies show that gardening  has a way of reducing stress, anxiety and depression and is very effective in treating dementia, cognitive learning issues, cancer, trauma, and PTSD victims. It is our goal to create a space that reaches out, involves and connects our neighbors, our schools, and those traumatized by life’s injustices.

Empowering others through our monthly Garden Market.

We currently offer our lettuce and herbs (cilantro, basil and oregano) to our community on the first weekend of every month. These markets offer a healthy food option at an affordable price to the buyer and more importantly provides the resources for us to touch many more food insecure families in our area. As we expand our operation we foresee a day coming where we will be able to offer temporary employment opportunities to those who are serious about changing their life circumstances.

Making a difference globally.

We are working towards making this a sustainable garden model that not only pays for itself but also provides additional resources to help address food insecurities around the globe. We are currently using our greenhouse as a global intern training center working with the YWAM Emerge ministry. We are also in the early planning stages of developing a sustainable greenhouse model that we will be able to export to impoverished communities in Swaziland working with our ministry partner Beyond Survival and Uganda working with New Hope Uganda. This is a model that we truly believe has the potential to transform whole communities into places where hope, health and new life abound.

OUR GREEN TEAM

We have an incredible operational “Green Team” that consists of dedicated volunteers who oversee the system on a daily basis!

Each team member, trained by one of our point leaders, helps us maintain a vibrant, healthy growing environment for our plants by volunteering at least 2-4 times per month for  a morning or late afternoon shift.  They also participate in our Saturday morning harvests and our first of the month Garden Market Weekend. The Garden Market helps offset the cost of our operation by providing fresh herbs and lettuce to our community for a small donation. These weekly events are wonderful opportunities for people to share a little life together with people of all different ages and backgrounds in a very therapeutic environment that has a way of renewing and recharging our spirits.

Our Green Team Point Leaders

Chip Mattingly
Garden Director

More about Chip

Chip is the Outreach & Connections Pastor at Mountain Springs Church. He received his Bachelors of Science degree in Oceanography from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1981. Chip met his wife, Corinne, at sea and spent the next few years living in the U.S. Virgin Islands before returning to San Diego in 1985 where Chip worked as a trainer at Sea World. Shortly thereafter, God placed an irrevocable calling on their lives for missions and community. They moved to Colorado Springs in 1993 and worked with an international wheelchair ministry until he came on staff at Mountain Springs in 2007. Chip and Corinne have one daughter, Kierra, who shares their love for just about anything outdoors from hiking to skiing and even the occasional scuba diving trip. Their life motto of “Why Be Normal’ continues to fuel their passion for living a joy-filled life that is sold out for Jesus.

Aaron Bivens
Assistant Operations Manager

More about Aaron

Aaron is the Head Grower for Altman Plants in Peyton, CO. Altman Plants produces bedding plants and flowering crops for Lowes Home Improvement Stores. Aaron oversees the production of $12,000,000.00 in crop sales in 32 acres of glass greenhouses that are shipped all through Colorado and New Mexico. Aaron moved to Colorado Springs in November of 2015 with his fiancee Brianna. They had previously lived in Southern California. Aaron Studied Ornamental Horticulture at Kishwaukee college in Malta, Illinois, and Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University. Aaron has worked in the greenhouse industry since he was teenager. In his free time he enjoys gardening, raising Honey Bees, hiking, grilling out in his backyard, and listening to music.

Leah Shantz
Harvest Day Point Leader

More About Leah

I’m Leah Shantz, this outreach to the community and supporter of MSC Missions is so vital and rewarding & is a lot of fun. I am retired from Hewlett-Packard & Agilent Technologies in the Operations Procurement Departments and Big Deal Management. I now have the time to volunteer in various activities, like MSC’s Aquaponics Garden and the Community Associations Institute.

Kylie Sutherland
Garden Market Point Leader

More about Kylie

I moved from Southern California 12 years ago with my family and have been a part of the Mountain Spring family ever since. Way back then Pastor Daniel was my youth pastor! I have served in many different areas but to be able to combined my love of gardening and serving the community has been an awesome experience!

Cassie Miller
Monday Team Point Leader

More about Cassie

Cassie is a stay at home to a 2 year old girl and one baby boy on the way and is married to her sweetheart Keith. She loves being back in her home city of Colorado Springs and enjoys hanging out with her family and spending as much time outside as possible hiking or gardening. She has a heart for getting nutritious food to families in need across our beautiful city and is excited to be part of such a hands on ministry.

Rich Johnson
Tuesday Team Point Leader

More about Rich

Rich is retired after spending 40 + years in Information Technology. He and his lovely wife Chris have three grown children and seven grand kids! They have been attending MSC since 2015. When he heard about the Aquaponics ministry at MSC, he felt that this would be , and is, a great way to serve our church and our community.

Corinne Mattingly
Wednesday Team Point Leader

More about Corinne

Corinne is married to Chip and has been part of the Green Team from the very beginning. She loves the vision of providing healthy produce for food insecure people as well as the greenhouse being a refuge and place of healing. She and Chip have one daughter, Kierra, and together love outdoor adventures of all kinds.

Ed & Sherri Zehner
Thursday Team Point Leader

More about Ed & Sherri

Ed and Sherri Zehner are leads for the Thursday team. Sherri is a Colorado native and Ed is a near-native. Sherri graduated from Western State College in Gunnison and Ed from USAFA. Sherri is now a realtor and Ed is a defense contractor. They are outdoor people and also enjoy beekeeping, blacksmithing, raising chickens, and aquaponics, of course.

Matt & Lisa Kolb
Friday Team Point Leader

More about Matt & Lisa

The Kolb’s have called Colorado home since 2004. Matt is an electrical contractor and Lisa a stay at home/homeschooling mom. Life includes 3 kids, a business, youth ministry, a love of the outdoors and a menagerie of animals including horses, chickens, cats and dogs. They have a passion for hunting, fishing, gardening, and cooking.

Dave & Kim Parsons
Saturday Team Point Leader

More about Dave & Kim

Dave and Kim have been married for 25 years and live in Falcon, Colorado They have 2 grown children, a teenager and 1 grandchild. They have a passion for the outdoors and being together. They love Fishing, camping and gardening. Kim is the children’s director at Mountain Springs church Dave owns his own maintenance and home repair business Together they own and run a martial arts studio in Falcon. Dave and Kim are passionate about outreach and love working at the greenhouse.

System Maintenance
& Construction Team

More about this team

We are always seeking to improve our system from both a mechanical and technical standpoint. We have a number of energy efficiency projects in the pipeline including the design and build of a solar and geothermal system as well as a redesign of our seed germination system. We also have a number of monthly maintenance items that we need to keep up on. So if you like working with your hands and tinkering with the science and technology of what we are doing then we would love to hear from you. Please contact Chip at: chip@mountainsprings.org

Community Liason
Team

More about this team

We believe this garden will be a tremendous blessing to our community in a variety of ways. We are looking for passionate people who would love to reach to our local schools, universities, philanthropic organizations, government health agencies and other local ministries as we seek to form strategic partnerships to bring about healthy change in our community. If this interests you please contact Chip at: chip@mountainsprings.org.

HELP US MAKE A DIFFERENCE

There are many opportunities to serve on our team. We have day to day operational teams, a Saturday Harvest Team, and a monthly Garden Market team. In addition we are always looking for some construction minded folks to help us periodically as we seek to build onto our existing operational system. Feel free to contact us at missions@mountainsprings.org with any questions you might have about how you might contribute.

There are many ways you can support our vision. Purchases from our monthly Garden Market provide us with the resources to bless many other food insecure families in our community. Any financial contributions made help us maintain and improve our operation. We are currently exploring geothermal and solar energy efficiency options to help reduce our operational costs. To give click HERE.

QUESTIONS? TALK TO US

Location

7345 Adventure Way
Colorado Springs, CO 80923
719.495.6688

Location

7345 Adventure Way
Colorado Springs, CO 80923
719.495.6688

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