Tennessee YMCA Supplies Local Food Banks With Organic Produce From Rooftop Hydroponics System

ANTIMEDIA | WTFRLY

An incredible partnership has come together to help solve two serious problems in a local Tennessee community. The Lindsay Young YMCA of Knoxville has opened its own rooftop garden with the help of a local bank.

The dedication ceremony was held Tuesday at the Lindsay Young Downtown YMCA. As part of the ceremony, children planted the first seeds in the garden, along with Home Federal Bank representatives who provided funding.

As reported on the downtown YMCA’s website, all food grown will be donated to local food banks to alleviate the hunger crisis in the community. Staff members and volunteers will maintain the garden. There are also plans for children to participate as part of gardening education. All of the food grown in the garden can be consumed raw, thus providing nutrient-rich produce without the need for cooking.

“Home Federal Bank has its roots in East Tennessee, so the YMCA Community Giving Garden program is a natural fit for us,” Keasling said. “These gardens provide nutritious food to families who need it, while also teaching young people how to raise a garden and give back to our community,” as quoted by the YMCA’s website.

ymcaknoxville.org
YMCA Community Giving Garden Dedication was held on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at the Lindsay Young Downtown Y. This is the newest location for the Y Community Giving Garden program. A generous donation from Home Federal Bank helps “Raise the Roof” on the Downtown YMCA Community Giving Garden.

A $5,000 donation from Home Federal Bank is helping the YMCA expand its Community Giving Garden program to include a rooftop garden at the Lindsay Young Downtown YMCA on Clinch Avenue.

The Community Giving Garden program started in 2012 at the Davis Family YMCA in West Knoxville, and a donation from the bank last year helped plant the first seeds at the second garden site at the Cansler Family YMCA in East Knoxville.

Like those gardens, the Downtown Y garden will provide fresh fruits and vegetables via area food pantries to families who otherwise might not be able to afford them. Unlike those soil-based gardens, the downtown rooftop garden will be hydroponic, a process by which plants grow in mineral-enriched water.

Hydroponics allows for more plants to be grown in a smaller footprint with less water usage. Many plants are grown vertically, and the garden will be open during the spring, summer and fall. In warm months, the garden will produce tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, beans, basil, kale and lettuce, whereas it will produce lettuce, kale and collards in cooler months.

Hydroponic gardens also offer high yields. The Y anticipates a yield of 500 to 1,000 pounds of fresh produce per year.

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