[Photo: Brandi Salas]
We are getting ready for Earth Day at our Napuakea location! Our adult participants will celebrate Earth Day by harvesting their chemical-free fruits and vegetables (kale, eggplant, rosemary, etc.) from their Tower Gardens and using them to prepare a healthy and delicious lunch. The Earth Day harvest is significant for the staff and the participants at Easter Seals Hawaii (ESH) because it helps to give them a sense of accomplishment as they produce clean vegetables and fruit without chemicals or fertilizer.
The Tower Gardens are a verticle aeroponic system for growing the best nutrient dense fruits and vegetables. This non-traditional and modern way of gardening is faster, uses less water and requires less maintenance. A long-time supporter of ESH and owner of Juice Plus Aloha, Wendy Loh, donated these Tower Gardens to the participants at Napuakea. “I had just returned from a conference where I saw The Boys and Girls Club of Memphis sharing about what they do with their Tower Gardens. It was amazing and I thought that if they could produce all these great veggies, then the Easter Seals participants can do it too,” said Loh.
The Tower Gardens do not only add to the participants’ list of activities, but it also helps them build confidence and instill respect and responsibility to care for the ‘aina. “I feel that they are experiencing a sense of internal pride. It leaves a smaller footprint on Mother Earth, water consumption is 50% less and the elderly and young on wheelchairs can still harvest and plant with easy access,” said Loh.
The program staff has found that this is a valuable, enriching experience and hope that others adopt the idea of using Tower Gardens as the way to clean and healthy lifestyles.