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'Food Dome' Will Provide Vegetables Year-Round for Shelter Kitchen

A giant ‘food dome’ is almost complete next to Central Iowa Shelter and Services in Des Moines. As Iowa public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, the unusually shaped greenhouse will grow vegetables year round and supply the shelter’s kitchen.

Rodney Volkmar and a team from the Colorado-based company Growing Spaces are attaching triangular sheets of reflective insulation on a 30-foot, dome-shaped scaffolding. They expect to finish work by Friday.

“The sun tracking is one of the main things, the sun goes around the earth the same way it goes around the dome,” Volkmar said. 

The ‘food dome’ at Central Iowa Shelter and Services sits next to a group of outdoor, raised beds. People staying at the shelter help tend the garden through a paid training program, and assistant shelter manager AJ Olson says the food they grow goes to the shelter kitchen.

“We’ve had really good luck this year with a salad mentality. Spinach, lettuce, that went really fast in our kitchen,” Olson said. “We serve 250 people a night for dinner.”

The dome costs about 40-thousand dollars to construct—Olson says DuPont Pioneer has funded CIS’ gardening program since the beginning. Growing food year-round will give the program a chance to expand, with the potential for selling some of the extra produce in the future.