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The Biodome: A Growing Love Story

Supporting Local Food Systems and Your Community
Willow encourages you to visit The Biodome for your gardening needs.
photo/Ashley Baron

With Spring now upon us, so many of us are busy with projects around the house and preparing our garden plans. And certainly we don’t need reminded that we are living amidst a culture shock time period. In direct result, there has been a ‘growing’ emphasis on the importance of gardening and what you choose to grow. In chatting with Clint Peyton, Ryan Peterson and Brandon Triscari, owners of The Biodome Project in Jamestown, NY, I got the inside scoop on why this is the perfect time to ‘dig in’ to your very own vegetable garden.

“At The Biodome we want to help educate and inspire our friends and neighbors to begin making this shift towards a smarter, healthier, more secure and diverse food supply.” This was their platform and mission before the COVID-19 Pandemic, and seems to be even more pertinent these days.

When food is grown far from the location of consumption, it is picked earlier so it doesn’t spoil before it gets to shelves and then to your home. This has some negative impacts on the product quality when the ripening happens off the vine. One major impact is the item is not packed with as many immune boosting nutrients as you would get from a local farmer’s product. “With everything going on, it shines a light on how disconnected we are from our food system,” Peyton stated. He feels this was enough of a cage rattle to wake people up. “We have this amazing system and feature in our body [immune system] to fight off disease and we need to learn to nourish it properly.”

The Biodome team encourages you to take this time at home and in the kitchen to experiment with new foods and flavors. “Let your kids help too; they need to learn about nourishing themselves with healthy food at a young age.”

This relationship you and your family form with food starts in the garden. Planting the seed and tending the plant is not only good for your mental health, but your physical health as well, by keeping you moving. It can also show you the benefits of long-term gratification because gardens don’t happen overnight. They take time, dedication, care and love. “This work helps you to create a more symbiotic relationship with the earth,” expressed Peyton.

The Biodome, despite being located in the next county over, is delivering orders to the Ellicottville area, “usually on Fridays, but we are doing our best to accommodate the needs of our consumers.” If you are ready to tackle your garden from the seed up, they have all the supplies you will need; or if you are more like me and prefer a jumpstart on your garden, they also have starter plants for sale. Aside from their array of locally grown produce, they also work with many local vendors for everything you need to stock your fridge and cupboards - from pasta and pasta sauce to meat, cheese, dried beans and more. The shop also carries local artwork, locally made jewelry and woodworking, health and beauty supplies, clothing and accessories. Browse their site at biodomeproject.com and click the ‘Shop Now’ icon to be directed to their barn2door virtual store.

“When you support the farming community nearby, you are supporting your immediate food supply system. Those dollars aren’t being sent off to a big business’ corporate account,” said Peyton.

Now is the time to make the shift to local products; it is the ace in the hole that the American people have and the best way to ensure your local economy keeps chugging along. When so many are feeling helpless, this is our way to contribute and learn to provide food for our own personal consumption. Let’s all fall in love with our local food system again.

I think the conclusion is best summed up by Michael Pollan, American author and activist: “The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.”