Blue Ridge Community College breaks ground on automated greenhouse

Blue Ridge Community College breaks ground on automated greenhouse

March 26, 2024

On March 4, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton spoke at the groundbreaking of Blue Ridge Community College’s new automated greenhouse.

In 2022, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $1 million to Blue Ridge Community College through the Golden LEAF Community-Based Grants Initiative to expand its agriculture programs to meet an emerging need among local growers. Over 100 farmers in this high-altitude region use an automated growing system within a greenhouse structure. At the time of the application there were over 70 local unfilled positions requiring skills in this method, with an expectation that demand for this skill set will increase significantly over the next few years.

Blue Ridge Community College will use the new 4,727-square-foot greenhouse to offer continuing education and curriculum courses taught in climate-controlled teaching labs that mimic grower settings. Golden LEAF funds will be used for construction of the labs/greenhouses, instructional supplies, professional development, and initial funding for a program instructor.

The facility is funded by a combined $1.25 million provided by the Golden LEAF Foundation and Cannon Foundation, with additional infrastructure support provided by Henderson County.

“Blue Ridge Community College is going to fill the skills gap by offering continuing education and curriculum courses taught in labs that mimic grower settings,” said Hamilton. “This project marries Golden LEAF’s agriculture and workforce preparedness priorities and will help meet the employer need for skilled workers in the region, now and into the future. This is a momentous project for the agricultural industry in Western North Carolina.”

The new greenhouse is projected to be complete in the summer of 2025.

For more information about Blue Ridge Community College’s horticultural programs, visit:

Stay Connected

Stay connected with Golden LEAF by signing up for our e-newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.