The large window in the front of the store provides plenty of sunlight to help the plants grow, and to help patrons view the artwork hanging on the walls. The BioDome Project, located at 207 Pine St., is a unique store full of interesting plants and locally made goods. Originally just an idea to grow plants and food for local restaurants, the Biodome has grown into an avid supporter of all things local.
About two years ago, three friends who are passionate about plants joined together to start what is known as the BioDome Project. Ryan Peterson, Bill Thomas and Angela Caley began their mission to grow large garden plants, beneficial houseplants, decorative plants and herbs for local restaurants.
“All the variety of plants we sell are heirloom varieties, or open-pollinated,” Bill explained. “Which means they’ve been bred from known seed sources, only through standard natural plant reproduction.” The seeds are not genetically modified, and produce stronger, more nutritious plants.
Bill would also argue that plants grown from heirloom seeds are “superior in every way…I would rather have an ugly tomato with really good flavor and nutrition, than a beautiful, perfect, GMO (genetically modified organism) tomato from the grocery store that just kind of tastes like mush.”
For anyone who wants to learn more about the traditional, unmodified seeds sold at the BioDome, just stop in and talk to Bill. He is sure to be ready with an impassioned tale of the over 4,800 varieties of tomato seeds available.
While in the store, be sure to check out the pathway of PVC pipe hanging in the window. It’s a hydroponic system used to regulate and improve the growth of plants indoors.
“I designed that hydroponic system,” Ryan said of the maze in the window. “The plants are growing with water and nutrients, but no soil.” The nutrients the plants need are right in the water, so they do not have to pull it out of the soils. With this design, the plants can grow faster and are less susceptible to the bacteria and bugs found in soil.
The unit in the window is made from PVC pipes, while another contraption, this one made of wood, stands in front of it. In addition to the plants and seeds sold in the shop, the space is rented out to local artists to sell their work. One of these artists, a woodworker, was able to build one of Ryan’s hydroponic designs to house the growing plants. “It’s a collaboration with the guys who do the woodwork,” Ryan said.
Ryan, Bill and Angela decided to bring in local artists to their store when they moved to their new location on Pine Street last May. “We had extra space, so we came up with the idea to rent it out to artists,” Ryan explained. Vendors can rent shelf space for as little as $20 a month, with a 5% commission rate for anything they sell. The variety of goods found within the store includes handmade soaps, intricately carved woodworks, saws painted with landscapes, jewelry, locally grown foods and much more.
“It’s been exciting to see what people bring in,” Ryan said. “We have really nice functional artwork like pottery and woodwork, but we also have decorative works like wall paintings.”
Even the founders themselves get in on the action of sharing their artwork. Angela has several paintings adorning the walls, and Bill had an opening reception this past Saturday for his new artwork.
Whether it is learning about gardening or attending an art party, there is plenty to do and see at the BioDome Project on Pine St. A truly unique spot in the community, the BioDome is a great place to learn and explore.