Canadian Woman Up-Cycles Old School Buses into Greenhouses

May 25, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Old school buses are cheaper and stronger than most greenhouses, and best of all, you can move them!

Converting retired school buses into RVs and tiny houses has become increasingly popular in recent years, but now a woman from Alberta, Canada has found another use for them.

Greenhouses are great way to extend the growing season and protect crops from harsh weather in colder, northern parts of the continent, but they can be very expensive, depending on what type of material you use.

Soft, polyethylene plastic is relatively affordable, but isn’t very durable in strong winds, and has to be replaced every couple of years.

With their steel-ribbed frames and siding, school buses are known for their virtual indestructibility, and, they can be purchased super cheap.

Doni Rae Franklin and her family have converted two of them into rock-solid, food-growing machines for a fraction of the cost of a glass or hard-plastic (polycarbonate) greenhouse.

They ripped out all the seats and cut off the roof from the windows up, replacing it with polyethelene plastic (at least they’ll only have to replace the roof from now on, instead of all the siding too).

The recycled the tin roof into planter boxes, which they expect to withstand rot better than wood boxes.

And, another bonus, when the weather is warmer they can easily open up the windows to let it cool down inside!

The larger of the two buses is immobile as the drive-train was removed for another project, but the short bus still drives, allowing Doni Rae to take her produce to the farmers’ market and deliver a whole new level of freshness!

The smaller bus only has skylights installed, rather than the whole roof cut off, allowing her to plant crops without such a high light requirement:

“As I’ve been getting more and more into commercial gardening, I’ve realized that these greenhouses are the best way to achieve a reliable harvest, stopping things like frost and hail from taking a toll,” Franklin tells

She says if she ever gets time to custom build more greenhouse buses for people she’d charge about $8000 per bus, half the cost of the national average for greenhouses.

Her original Facebook post about the bus went viral back in 2016 and is now making its rounds again as more and more people become interested in growing their own food.