180711 Tower Garden 1
James Neiss/staff photographer
Niagara Falls, NY - Marla Guarino with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County Create Healthy Schools & Community Program, shows off a Tower Garden just installed at the John Duke Senior Center, part of the Tower Garden Workplace Wellness Initiative. The style of gardening, called Aeroponic, does not require soil.
CONTACT: Marla Guarino| firstname.lastname@example.org | 716-299-0905 ext. 275
Date: July 12th, 2018
John Duke Senior Center Growing Excited about Tower Gardens
Program aims to increase access to fresh produce, while providing a powerful workplace wellness tool and community focal point.
Niagara Falls, NY — Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County (CCE) is excited to announce the implementation of a Tower Garden Workplace Wellness Initiative at the John Duke Senior Center in Niagara Falls. These indoor aeroponic growing units were made possible through Creating Healthy Schools and Communities, a five year grant funded by the New York State Department of Health and awarded to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County. Two of the strategies of this grant are to increase access to healthy, affordable foods and increased opportunities for physical activity.
Tower Gardens are state-of-the-art, vertical, aeroponic growing systems that allow you to grow up to 28 vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in less than three square feet. In an aeroponic system, plants grow in the air or a mist environment rather than soil. They are perfect for a school environment because they teach healthful habits throughout the school year, unlike a traditional school garden that is only available during the limited Western NY growing season which usually doesn’t match up with the school year. Since they are on wheels, they can be moved as needed. The lights and pump are both on timers that can be set to run automatically during school vacations. Water and nutrients are continuously cycling through the Tower, showering the plants’ roots and the flowing water creates a calming sound. They also teach environmental awareness by using less water and space with a high yield.
Introduce, Intrigue, Inspire…..
Community Coordinator, Marla Guarino says, “The Tower Garden will provide an opportunity for the workers at the center to implement a healthy meeting policy and it is also a wonderful learning opportunity for the senior community who come to the center for socializing, learning, and physical activity opportunities. It adds beauty and innovation to a place that means a lot to the seniors. It is like bringing a garden into their home away from home. The Center will grow a variety of plants, fruits and herbs including strawberries, snap peas, basil, tomatoes and even eggplant. Anything that can grow in the ground can grow in the tower. Aside for something like pumpkins”
The John Duke Senior Center in Niagara Falls, decided to showcase the Tower Garden in front of the main office. Senior helped to plant herbs and greens and will learn to test the PH and harvest the plants for educational purposes. Plans are underway to tie this in with healthy cooking classes for the senior and John Duke employees as well as implement a Salad Club where they can grow their own healthy lunches and snacks.
Creating Healthy Schools and Communities already have Tower Gardens growing in the area schools and hope to set up more in workplaces and community centers in Niagara Falls.
About Cornell Cooperative Extension
Cornell Cooperative Extension puts knowledge to work in pursuit of economic vitality, ecological sustainability, and social well-being. We bring local experience and research based solutions together, helping New York State families and communities thrive in our rapidly changing world. Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.
To learn more about CCE-Niagara County, please visit cceniagaracounty.org.