City gardeners use new technology to grow organic produce

November 2, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Not all new technology requires a password, and some seniors are likely grateful for it. They are growing organic produce in vertical towers on the roof of the Salvation Army in Blue Island. The process calls for minimal effort and yields a harvest in about six weeks.

"This is quite a unique system. This is the only apparatus that doesn't require any dirt. It's simply air and water," said John Bell, garden volunteer.

"You just have to monitor the nutrients that are going in and make sure the water is running otherwise it takes care of itself," said Maria Bell, garden volunteer.

The produce has a short commute from farm to fork. The towers generate the equivalent of 10 acres of farmland. The chef harvests what he needs and includes in the free lunch served to about seventy seniors every day.

"We should be able to produce all the lettuce we use, all the kale that we use, all the tomatoes that we use, all the cucumbers that we use. So it takes a big chunk out of having to buy from a purveyor," said Chris Fron, chef, Salvation Army.

Volunteers say it's rewarding to see the fruits of their labor land on their plates.

"Seniors don't get enough of good, healthy food and to be able to be a part of giving seniors good, healthy, nutritious food is rewarding. You feel good about it," said Joseph Martin, garden volunteer.

You can find out more about aeroponic gardening by visiting the following websites:

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