It is November 2019 where, after a few weeks of intensive email contact (mainly with Allen), we have decided that I undertake a trip to Alliance, Nebraska to meet the Greenhouse in the Snow team personally. Main goal for the trip was to transfer as much knowledge as possible on producing and building the greenhouses in Europe.
I have travelled a lot for my work previously but never to pursue my own business interests. It is quite a difference I have to say. It was as if I felt a larger responsibility to make this trip a succes. Not some kind of stress but more a drive to make sure all my questions are answered.
Once arrived in the Denver, Colorado, I took the rental car to drive to Alliance, Nebraska. A 4,5 hour road trip through the landscapes that I knew from documentaries and movies! And this is exactly what I love when I travel, discover new areas, meet new people and new cultures, different habitats and animals.
I drove directly to the Antioch workshop and I finally met Allen in person. We straight away started to discuss the many subject we had prepared for! During 4 days we have exchanged a lot of information, discussed widely on the greenhouse in the snow business, how the business can develop, what new features we can add etc. We straight away had a personal click which makes everything easier.
In the late afternoon, on my first day, I also met Russ. He showed me his greenhouse (attached to his house), it was a special experience for me. After all these months of research, discussing and planning I was finally in THE greenhouse!! The very first one.
When you enter the greenhouse it looks and feels like an oasis of plants and trees, almost a little tropical due to the humidity. Outside it was snow-white, inside all kind of green shades with here and there oranges and lemons hanging on the trees. And not to forget the flowers!
Russ explained the working principles of the greenhouse, the systems and the thoughts behind his design. He also told me about the small developments that were incorporated through the years following his first greenhouse design. A great closure of my first day.
The second day I have also visited the greenhouse of Lisa and Allen together with Russ. From the outside it looks quite modest in size but then when you enter into the greenhouse it feels impressive and spacious with its height of more then 3 meters. The greenhouse is partly sunken in the ground to capture the earth heat which gives two large beds to cultivate vegetables, spices, herbs and flowers. In the pit of the greenhouse you normally plant trees to use the available height. In Lisa and Allen’s greenhouse they have planted young trees which don’t have the full height yet, so I got a good view on the full length and size of the greenhouse.
During my visit I have spent as much time possible in the workshop with Allen. We have welded the different parts together and discussed about all technical greenhouse details.
The last evening I was invited to eat with Lisa and Allen. They prepared an amazing American style steak on their BBQ. Loved it !
On the way back to Denver I drove via Laramie to visit another greenhouse in the snow build by Mark. The night before it had snowed quite a bit. Outside temperature was about -20 degrees in the late sunny afternoon and inside the greenhouse it was nice and warm. I guess about 20-22 degrees. Very enjoyable. Mark, the owner, explained how he build the greenhouse and shared his experiences with me.
Later that evening I was back in the hotel in Denver and my enthusiasm for this great unique concept had grown even further after meeting the team and visiting the greenhouses!
I returned home with my head full of ideas, a lot of things to organise and most importantly the drive to make this great concept available to the European customers!