Earlier this year, the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District partnered with functional medicine provider Be Well Family Care in Carmel to provide a Garden Tower, a multi-level planter capable of growing 70 or more plants within a minimal amount of space. It also has the ability to create its own compost.
“The basic idea is just to be able to grow a lot of food in a really small space and to do it with the minimum amount of resources, not only from a time perspective but also from a resource perspective,” said Andrew Fritz, urban agriculture conservationist with the conservation district.
Participants in Carmel’s Kids Serving Carmel Camp, a program of the Kiwanis Club of Carmel, planted the Garden Tower during the spring. The experience provided a learning opportunity about where food comes from and food insecurity within the county.
“The current food insecurity rate is 10 percent in Hamilton County,” Fritz said. “Food insecurity can look different to different people. We explain to the kids your neighbor or the person who’s sitting next to you may not look poor, but they may be on a free and reduced meal plan, or they may be using food pantries to make ends meet.”
The Garden Tower also provides an opportunity for students to learn how to grow their own food.
“It’s great for apartments and the elderly who may have a hard time doing weeding or bending over,” Fritz said. “It’s also great for kids to see how plants can grow in different shapes and different sizes. Growing doesn’t always have to be on a farm or in a garden.”
The Garden Tower is in the possession of Be Well Family Care but will likely move to another location in Hamilton County in the spring. For more, visit hamiltonswcd.org.