The Great Lake Community Centre in Miena, central Tasmania, has raised nearly $1 million to build the country's largest passive solar greenhouse to help feed their community.
Despite a small population of 86 people, the community - 80 kilometres south-west of Launceston - raised the funds to build the greenhouse through grants and donations.
The town's climate and geographic isolation has made growing food year-round an impossible task due to seasonal frosts, low yearly average temperatures, and limited daylight hours.
But with the help of Hobart-based engineering group HED Consulting, a group of volunteers from the town plan to utilise passive solar technology to create a community greenhouse that will provide a surplus of food.
Community Centre member Toni Glowacki said after being knocked back for funding for a conventional greenhouse by the Central Highland Council, they turned to a Tech Community Fund in Bridgewater.
"We went to a meeting in Bridgewater and they explained the issue. They said heating was a limiting factor, that the costs to heat a normal greenhouse in central Tasmania were prohibitive,"
"That prompted us to instead think outside the box," Ms Glowacki said.
Community member Jason Garrett, who helped drive the project, said with much of the town's population fluctuating season to season, the greenhouse was not just about growing food.
"It's about growing community - up here over winter in particular it gets very isolated, but this garden brings a place where people can come in the heart of winter and be a part of the community".
After researching farming methods of countries in similar climates - such as Canada and China - the group found similar heat retention issues in their greenhouses that could be solved with passive solar technology.
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Passive solar heating - which uses converted sunlight to heat spaces without active mechanical devices - is used to store hot-air in a geothermal battery for storage.
Fans inside the greenhouse pull hot air back up when the temperature drops, creating a consistently warm environment optimum for growing food.
The greenhouse will measure 10 metres by 13 metres, and will stand over eight metres tall with a mezzanine level.
The town hope to have a team of full-time gardeners, as well as volunteers and community members maintaining the site.
For HED engineering technician Paloma Segura, the project was an opportunity to design a system that worked with Tasmania's unique climate.
"It's such an interesting project with a groundbreaking solution for the Australian market that I was immediately on board,"
"These types of projects that bring together sustainability, technology, the natural environment and a strong sense of community connection, have such a positive impact on everyone involved," Ms Segura said.
With funding secured from the Tasmanian Community Fund, Cattle Hill Community Fund, and the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grant, the town is hopeful to begin construction in November.
If built the town hopes the greenhouse will allow for two to three growing seasons per year, and expect a surplus of food to feed the wider community.
But with an extra $10,000 needed for a computer system to operate the greenhouse and security systems, Mr Garrett said further funding would need to be locked in before development of the site could begin.
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