JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Salvation Army makes its own produce to feed residents and others in the community. This new garden offers fresh food in a unique way.
“We also grow kale, coriander, and oregano,” said Tami Gonyea, director of social services for the Jacksonville Army.
These are just a few of the items that the Jacksonville Salvation Army grows in their garden towers.
The food is grown in an innovative way through aeroponics using these air capsules.
The aeroponics towers grow produce that is harvested to provide fresh food to those who would otherwise not normally have access to nutritious food.
Aeroponics is a process by which plants are grown in an air environment rather than in the ground. This allows the organization to use its shelter as a garden.
Aeroponic systems use water, liquid nutrients, and a soilless growing medium to quickly and efficiently grow colorful, tastier, pleasant smelling, and incredibly nutritious products.
Various salads, kale, spinach, microgreens and herbs are grown indoors in the Tower Gardens of the Salvation Army.
“We’re going to expand to also grow more lettuce when the fourth tower is up, and tomatoes and cucumbers so we can use these products on our salad bar to cook for the residents and whatever we go through to the community our dinners, which take place 365 days a year, ”said Gonyea.
The Salvation Army acquired a 4th aeroponic tower garden that grows tomatoes, baby eggplants, and mini peppers outdoors in a location exposed to direct sunlight to offer a variety of meals to the shelter’s residents.
The organization says it is important that they can get their own products.
“A year ago it was a struggle to find fresh produce and meat through our suppliers because when everything hit and everything was shut down, access to everything and then access to everything changed so drastically. So with our current towers, 100% self-feeding isn’t enough, but it’s a good start. And we wouldn’t have to worry in the future if something else happened, ”said Gonyea.
The long-term goal is to sustain yourself when it comes to production.
“I would like to expand what we currently need from 18 to 24. You’d probably be out here right now. Growing outside. Growing tomatoes and peppers and eggplant and all kinds of fantastic things. So that in the production of our products we can not only really feed ourselves for our meals for the residents, but also go through our pantry to the people we serve there, ”said Gonyea.
To achieve this goal, the Salvation Army is collecting donations. You can donate by calling 904-356-8641 or visiting www.salvationarmynefl.org.
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