August 10, 2015 // 2:00 PM
The Aeroponic Greenhouse at GSV
Written by Scott Miller
How do you serve farm-to-table freshness all year round?
If you’re Garden Spot Village, you take steps to make fresh, locally grown food available regardless of the season. A high-tech aeroponic greenhouse, planned to be constructed, will grow produce year-round, support sustainability, and potentially create jobs.
“The idea originated after we heard so many comments about the tomatoes in the salad bar in the middle of winter,” says Steve Lindsey, chief executive officer at Garden Spot Village. “We have such wonderful produce from local farms that our kitchens use through the summer months. We thought that the idea of having freshly grown, hyper-local produce throughout the year would fit well with the culture and values of Garden Spot Village.
“Garden Spot Village has always had a culture of growing and placing a premium on landscaping plants and trees,” says Scott Weaver, director of campus services. “We’ve always grown many of our own shade trees. A greenhouse that would grow vegetables and possibly annual flowers felt like a natural extension of that.”
Producing food on campus eliminates the use of fossil fuels for production or transportation. Additionally, the produce can be grown without pesticides or preservatives. The greenhouse would use highly efficient aeroponic technology, which requires no soil. Instead, produce is grown on towers, through which water circulates. The a greenhouse for Garden Spot Village towers turn in order to allow plants access to sunlight, water and nutrients. A carefully controlled environment will make it possible to grow fresh produce all year, regardless of weather conditions.
"Freshly harvested fruits and veggies bring intense flavors, crisp textures, and plentiful nutrients—qualities that decline in many types of produce after harvest,” Lindsey says. “It doesn’t get any more local than if we harvest in the morning and eat it at lunchtime,” says Weaver. Many residents have expressed an interest in volunteering in the greenhouse, and the project could create jobs for the community as well.
“The greenhouse creates a win-win for the people of Garden Spot Village and for our local community,” says Lindsey. “We are able to get the benefits of great food throughout the year while providing employment to local people who are living with disabilities that make it difficult for them to find gainful employment.
For more information regarding AERO and the aeroponic technologies used, please visit aeroponicsgrowing.com/.
This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 Issue of Destination.