Board Member Lewis Mitchell, CAA General Manager Bill Black, Economic Development Director Christopher Thompson, Greenhouse Coordinator Carla Cree, Board Member Dianna Tarbell, Consultant Bruce Bonesteel, St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Chief Ron Lafrance, Greenhouse Coordinator Zach Bonaparte, Greenhouse Worker, Steven Leroux, Greenhouse Worker John Bonaparte
Strong Roots Greenhouse Holds Ribbon Cutting for 2017 Season
AKWESASNE — It’s official, the Spring growing season is here and the Strong Roots Charitable Foundation kicked it off with a ribbon cutting ceremony today, marking the opening of the Strong Roots Greenhouse.
The Strong Roots Greenhouse is a unique non-profit effort established last year by Carey Terrance of CAA Management. The actual opening day of Strong Roots Greenhouse is Tuesday, May 9th—just in time for Mother’s Day.
The plant and product offerings will rotate with the spring and summer season starting with spectacular hanging flower baskets for Mother’s Day, followed by the addition of seedlings and starter plants for the garden in the next few weeks. In addition to flowering and vegetable plants, the greenhouse will have produce available throughout the summer offering the best selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. Come fall, pumpkins, squash, and gourds will close out the grow season.
All proceeds from plant sales go to the Akwesasne-based non-profit Strong Roots Charitable Foundation, established by Terrance in 2015. The Foundation was designed to create a greater pool of resources from both Akwesasne Native-owned businesses and off-territory businesses and agencies to help fund community-based youth and elder initiatives.
“I like to think of the Strong Roots Greenhouse as an opportunity for everyone to ‘grow a little, give a little,’” said Terrance. The Strong Roots model enables people to purchase plants—flowers, fruit and vegetable plants—and in so doing, to give back to the community as well, since all proceeds go to the Foundation. The Foundation, in turn, funds projects that benefit Akwesasne. It’s a healthy win-win.”
The Greenhouse is completely supported by Carey Terrance and CAA Management. All expenses and staffing are covered by CAA Management, so that 100% of the revenue goes to the Strong Roots Charitable Foundation.
Last year the Greenhouse made its debut with a start-up effort. This year, to strengthen and grow the operation and product offerings, CAA Management is collaborating with Bruce Bonesteel of Bonesteel’s Gardening Center in North Bangor. Bonesteel has decades of greenhouse and gardening expertise and has been instrumental in providing guidance to the two resident Greenhouse Coordinators – Zach Bonaparte and Carla Cree.
Zach Bonaparte started working the greenhouse while there was still snow on the ground, planting and tending to seedlings and monitoring plant growth. Carla Cree is covering the retail portion of the greenhouse and will be working to assist customers.
“We are setting up a potting station so that customers can create their own unique and personally selected flower varieties and plant them in a basket,” said Cree. “Building your own basket for Mom makes it special for her and fun for you.”
Similarly, the Strong Roots Greenhouse will have the Planter Gardening option: one pot that holds multiple vegetable plant varieties. “Planter Gardening is great for people who want to grow, but maybe don’t have time to do all the transplanting,” said Cree. “These beauties are all ready for the deck or patio, no transplanting necessary.”
Strong Roots Greenhouse is located at 16 State Route 37 in the parking lot of Twinleaf Gas & Tobacco in Akwesasne. The Greenhouse will be open 7 days a week, 10am-7pm, through the fall.