Man Hours Invested

Lettuce Heads Harvested

Food Insecure Households Served


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.

Garden Market: 2 Year Anniversary!

The Garden Market will be this Saturday and Sunday, after each service. We will have fish tacos, tours of the greenhouse, cooking demos, and more! Look what has been accomplished in 2 years! 4951 Volunteer Hours 35,600 Heads of Lettuce Harvested 16,020 Food Insecure...

Finding Healing in the Garden

My name is Tina and I’m the 35 year-old mother of three teenagers. It can be a struggle some days, but then I stop and realize that my life is nothing short of a miracle. Only a few short months ago it was anything but that and my family had all but resigned to the...

Incredible Students Help Out!

Kudos to the students from Atlas Preparatory School who came and helped us plant and harvest. These passionate young people run their own school pantry to aid families in need in their community. So blessed to work and partner with these inspiring leaders!

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!


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

  • We learned that there are over 82,000 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 families in need.

We currently supply the High Plains Helping Hands food pantry, the Springs Food Pantry, Eastern Plains Community Pantry, Mercy’s Gate and the Atlas Preparatory School 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.


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.

Position Available
Operations Manager

More about Position

Operations Manager description: We’re looking for someone who is available to volunteer 10-12 hours per week to maintain the system and manage the team leaders.  Being mechanically inclined and tech savvy is a plus! If you have a heart for this please contact Chip at:

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.

Corinne Mattingly
Garden Market Point Leaders

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.

Renee Curran
Monday Team Point Leader

More about Renee

Hi! I am Renee Curran.  I am a Mother of two from the Central Coast of California.  I love to sing, bake, craft, and I love the water (in any way I can get it, river, creek, beach, etc.). I am really enjoying our Garden and visiting with the fish!  Most of all I love being a part of such a thriving church body that cares so much and is making a difference in so many lives.  I am thankful for this opportunity to serve. 

Tara Millwright
Tuesday Team Point Leader

More about Tara

Nature-lover, bibliophile, educator, mama, wife, and disciple, Tara is passionate about using her degree in Biology: Environmental Education and experience in gardening to further the vision of The Aquaponic Garden.  In addition to her personal vegetable gardens in NM, MO, and CO, she has also helped with the Missouri River Clean-up Relief, educated in a Butterfly Pavilion/Nature Center, performed Water Quality Testing (using macro-invertebrates), and is a middle/high school teacher.

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.

Chet Bailey
Friday Team Point Leader

More about Chet

Chet is all about community and serving others. In addition to being one of our green team leaders he also leads a single men’s group and is a key leader on our weekend hospitality team at MSC. He is passionate about making people feel welcomed and helping others find their place. 

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:


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 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 have a number of projects we attempting to raise funds for: Passive Solar Water Heating System ($1000), Greenhouse Vestibule ($5000), Backup Generator System ($6000), Aquaponic School Curriculum ($1100), Aquaponic Home System ($2000) & Backup System Supplies ($2000). To give click HERE.



7345 Adventure Way
Colorado Springs, CO 80923

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