Mansfield Frazier, the entrepreneurial mastermind behind the improbable Chateau Hough
vineyard at E. 66th and Hough, says he will break ground on the world's first biocellar this year. He's raised more than half of the $100,000 needed to complete the experimental, innovative project.
"This is about growing crops in the wintertime," says Frazier. The biocellar, which has been described as a passive solar greenhouse, will consist of a glass structure built on top of the basement of a demolished home. "We plan to grow mushrooms because they're $12 a pound, an acre yield higher than anything else. This is about renewing neighborhoods, reusing buildings and creating wealth in the inner city."
"The biocellar is based on two concepts," Frazier explains of the glass-topped structure developed by permaculture designer Jean Loria. "One is a root cellar, which has been around thousands of years, and the other is a greenhouse. It's basically taking a greenhouse structure and putting it on top of a root cellar."
Frazier says that he hopes to break ground in July so that the biocellar will be completed by fall. The two- to three-month build-out will be handled by Don Lasker of ALL Construction, and Frazier will also employ a lot of neighborhood residents and guys from a local halfway house. The biocellar was designed by Arkinetics.
Funding sources include local councilpeople, stormwater management funding from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and a local angel investor.
"We're budgeting $100,000 for the first one, but hopefully the cost will go down once we know what we're doing," says Frazier. "We know the science is there."
Source: Mansfield Frazier
Writer: Lee Chilcote