Photo: Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi

Photo: Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi

Tower Gardens

Looking for a way to inspire your middle school students about science, nutrition, farming, sustainability and organics?

Program Overview

Monmouth Conservation Foundation is proud to announce the next phase of the Kids for Conservation program that inspires Middle School’s in Monmouth County to bring Tower Gardens to their students. Tower Gardens will spark the curiosity and excitement of students about growing healthy, fresh, organic foods such as herbs, cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes through sustainable practices while the classroom receives an innovative, educational tool and program to meet the New Jersey Science Standards through STEM education.

Tower Gardens employ aeroponic technology to grow plants in an air or mist environment rather than soil. Aeroponic systems use water, liquid nutrients and a soilless growing medium to quickly and efficiently grow nutrient-rich produce. This form of growing uses 98% less water than traditional agriculture while growing organic produce 30% faster. During the 2018/2019 school year, MCF will donate five aeroponic growing towers to five Middle Schools in Monmouth County.


Why Tower Gardens?

To adapt to our changing climate, students must learn to think critically about alternative solutions/options to traditional farming that reduce the impact of human actions that negatively impact our environment. Aeroponic growing methods provide a lens through which to examine sustainable uses of natural resources, think critically about organic food production and learn the importance of healthy nutrition.

MCF has successfully preserved thousands of acres of farmland and is creating a growing number of urban greenspaces. Aeroponic growing is becoming an increasingly common business component of rural and urban farms due to the ability to grow produce year-round and to meet the increasing consumer demands for local, organic foods. Additionally, aeroponic growing makes a garden possible year-round, instead of seasonally, allowing for students to learn about growing vegetables during the school year. It also allows those who live in urban areas (not just those or live in suburban or rural areas) to participate. Additionally, students are shown potential career opportunities in agriculture.


Sustainable Jersey Schools

We can help your school achieve points through Sustainable Jersey School Certification program under both “Food & Nutrition” and “Student Learning” action items. Learn more and register for Sustainable Jersey Schools at their website found here: sustainablejerseyschools.com.


Ready to learn more? Watch this presentation to learn more about how Tower Gardens work:


  Photo: Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi

Photo: Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi

The 5 W’s of our Tower Garden Growing Initiative:

WHO – All Middle Schools in Monmouth County are eligible to apply for one of five Tower Gardens to be donated by MCF to their school.

WHAT – MCF will donate one Tower Garden unit per school (valued at +/- $1,000) that will include indoor growing lights and the supplies needed to operate the unit and garden for the duration of the school year. MCF staff and the tower garden company, Tower Garden by Juice Plus+, will provide technical assistance and lesson plans to the science teachers in order to implement the unit into the New Jersey Science Standards curriculum. MCF will conduct a school visit to observe the Tower Garden in action and converse with students about the importance of sustainability, conservation, and how students can take action to effectuate change.

WHERE – Middle Schools must determine in their application where in the school the Tower Garden can be located. This is intended to ensure that schools have given consideration to logistical placement of the unit within the school.Since grow lights are included, sun exposure is not essential to the placement location, but a sunny spot to access natural light certainly won’t hurt.The Tower Garden is 30 x 30 inches at the base. A standard Tower Garden is 62 inches tall and holds up to 20 plants. With the indoor grow lights you will need approximately 2-3 additional feet around the unit for proper care and harvest.

WHEN – MCF is currently seeking applications. Applications will be accepted until November 1st 2018 to allow for Tower Garden units placement in the schools by the end of 2018.

WHY – To teach students about growing organic foods, inspire them to eat a healthy diet, and learn about agriculture! Aeroponic growing helps to teach sustainability through better usage of resources, agriculture, and host of other STEM learning experiences.


Application and Selection Process

Click the link below to complete this Google Form application to be considered for a Tower Garden grant donation to your school:

We are currently accepting applications from Middle Schools in Monmouth County. Tower Garden applications will be reviewed and accepted until November 1st with the intent to have the five selected Tower Garden locations placed by the end of 2018.

MCF will select the five Middle Schools to receive a Tower Garden. Applications will be selected based on the teachers’ dedication and enthusiasm towards implementing the Tower Garden into the classroom lessons and an equitable representation of geographic and socioeconomic backgrounds representing the diversity of Monmouth County.

Please contact Amanda Brockwell, Director of Programs and Outreach with any questions
at
abrockwell@monmouthconservation.org or (732-671-7000 x109).

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