Alaska counters lack of fresh veggies with greenhouse guide

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Greenhouses have long been an option for increasing the limited growing season in Alaska, but they're too expensive to operate for many remote communities that rely on costly imported diesel fuel for their power source.

Now the state has released a handbook that shows schools and community groups how to build greenhouses heated with a plentiful local resource: wood.

The new 98-page guide notes successes in the fledgling movement by several schools.

The entire 98-page handbook can be downloaded or read online here.

Officials say the biomass boilers used for the greenhouses are unlike the inefficient wood-burning stoves and outdoor boilers that have created a huge pollution problem in Fairbanks. They say the greenhouse equipment is far more efficient, burning most of the pollution that otherwise would go into the atmosphere.

The guide was funded by federal and state grants totaling $150,000. It involved input from multiple entities, including those with successful projects of their own.