Photos: Growing Spaces
I met Udgar Parsons in 1998 while enrolled in a 9-month Alchemical Hypnotherapy training program in Pagosa Springs, Colo. Udgar was an assistant for our group and I always valued the chance to interact with him for his gentle, empowering, and very insightful contributions.There was a large Growing Dome in the yard of the house in which we met. Most of our lunches were sourced from the dome’s plentiful garden. I knew that Udgar was somehow related to the dome, but that was the extent of my knowledge. It’s tremendously gratifying, 17 years later, to learn that Udgar and Puja Parsons’ company, Growing Spaces, is thriving, with over 100 Pagosa Springs neighbors utilizing the year-round Growing Dome. Greenhouse kits are sold in all 50 states and 11 countries, and over 100 schools around the world own domes.
Here’s a fun at look life inside a 15-foot dome during Colorado’s snow-packed winter. I could not even grow tomatoes in August in Pagosa thanks to the notorious summer hailstorms.
The Sustaining Vision
In December of 2013, as they approached their 25th year of operation, Puja Parsons penned a beautiful essay that provides deep insight into the company’s values and mission: “How We Built a Socially Responsible Company and What Inspired Us”.
The original, founding impetus for Growing Spaces in 1989 was the Parsons’:
Udgar and Puja were determined to prove that a passive solar greenhouse with a geodesic dome design was superior to other alternatives. Much experimentation and innovation went into the Growing Dome® structure for many years. Today the Parsons’ creation is regarded as the most advanced greenhouse kit design in the world.
love of the planet and a concern that safe, organic food was hard to come by year ‘round in the Rocky Mountains.
Also, as a Colorado Company to Watch in 2010 we are a part of our governor’s emphasis on entrepreneurism and innovation as a base for a New Economy that we Coloradans are modeling.
Unique By Design
The geodesic shape of the Growing Dome® distinguishes it from traditional rectangular greenhouses both visually and structurally. The triangle shapes create a geometric pattern of superior strength. Wind is no threat to the dome. The small surface area offers little resistance, allowing wind to flow around the structure. The spherical shape with minimum surface area is also responsible for locking in heat during cold winter months.The unique combination of features yield year-round indoor gardens using renewable energy. There is little or no reliance on outside sources of energy. The Growing Dome® naturally regulates the climate inside.
This video offers a feeling for the abundant life inside the dome while Udgar demonstrates some of the unique features, such as the polycarbonate glazing panels, the above ground pond perfect for goldfish and aquaponics, and the automatic vent openers that allow you to leave your garden for extended periods without worry:
Growing Spaces offers greenhouse kits in seven different sizes, ranging from 15 to 51 feet. Prices begin at $5,600. The kits come precut, pre-drilled, color-coded, with manuals, plans, and instruction videos. The company will also send a fully trained crew or a supervisor to help with installation.
The web site is incredibly comprehensive and overflowing with useful information on every aspect of the Growing Dome process. The FAQ section is a great resource for beginners, providing links to several videos.In her December 2013 essay, Puja Parsons speaks of her feelings of hopelessness and despair over the environmental degradation mankind has caused. In wondering how to help shift the balance, she asks:
How should we work on this and how can one person make a difference?
Fortunately for planet Earth, Puja and Udgar Parsons are equal parts visionaries and entrepreneurs who share an unrelenting commitment to:
rectify at least what I can in my own little world.