CHICAGO | One of the many new initiatives at St. Francis De Sales High School on the East Side is the introduction of alternative, eco conscious gardening.
Julie Kocher-Zinkus, owner of Flexible Fitness and a representative of Tower Garden, brought the state-of-the-art vertical aeroponic system to the yards of the high school on Sept. 2.
She explained to several students and teachers how the system operates using a closed-system technology by recycling 100 percent of its nutrients and water, and uses 90 percent less water and land than traditional gardening. The Tower garden grows 30 percent quicker and larger than traditional gardening and it’s technology is used at Walt Disney’s Epcot Center and was developed by head horticulturist Tim Blank. It is also used on a large scale at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and the San Francisco Giants Stadium.
This tower, which is growing yellow squash, Swiss chard, kale, bok choy and spring mix lettuce, will be used by several different classes of students including biology and chemistry classes. They will oversee the growth process, harvesting the organic produce and learn the importance of ph and liquid nutrient balance in creating a thriving environment for the plants.
This unit has been loaned to St. Francis de Sales by Kocher-Zinkus to assist in the school’s ultimate goal — to have many more towers on hand, each one sponsored by a local business and the local and organic produce eaten by the students in the cafeteria.
If you own a business, know someone that owns a business, or are an individual interested in sponsoring a tower, contact Janet Cobb at firstname.lastname@example.org.