The North Manchester Public Library is thrilled to be the recipient of a POET Bioprocessing Community Impact Grant in the amount of $2,000.
NMPL will use the funds for an installation of a Tower Garden (https://hunter.towergarden.com/tg) at the library. Tower Gardens operate on an advanced form of hydroponics called aeroponics. Aeroponic systems use water, liquid nutrients and a soilless growing medium to grow plants in an air or mist environment rather than soil. This method is quick and efficient, using 98% less water, 90% less space, growing 30% more, and 3 times faster than traditional soil methods. There is no need for digging or weeding, which means planting indoors becomes a viable option.
Pictured (left to right): NMPL Programming Coordinator Molly Magnus, NMPL Children’s Department Manager Sarah Morbitzer, David Pyle of POET, NMPL Director Diane Randall
“We have big plans for the Tower Garden,” said Sarah Morbitzer, NMPL’s Children’s Department Manager. “The Tower Garden will be accessible for everyone in the community any time they visit the library, and will provide families with access to fresh produce all year long. It will also allow the library to expand our Dirty Diggers garden program for kids, beyond the spring and summer months. We hope to continue to cultivate a love of fresh, healthy greens and herbs in children by giving them the opportunity to grow, harvest, and taste the 'tower-to-table' experience.”
Additionally, NMPL hopes the Tower Garden will show library users the positive partnership between science, environmental care, and food sustainability. NMPL plans to use it as a source of ingredients for cooking classes at the library. “We collaborate with Purdue Extension Wabash County to host Chef University, a dynamic program that gives kids hands-on experience preparing and eating healthy recipes,” said Morbitzer. “The Tower Garden will grow the herbs and leafy vegetables for the recipes, which will give us an affordable, environmentally friendly source for non-seasonal produce.”
The Tower Garden will make urban farming accessible to the North Manchester community. Library users will be able to reserve tower sections during late winter/early spring (for spring/summer gardens) and late summer (for fall crops) for the purpose of plant starts. As plants reach the size of viability, users can take them home for transplant and a new set of patrons can start their own seeds (which they can choose at no cost from the NMPL seed library).
"We are excited about the benefits a Tower Garden located at the library will bring to our community,” said Diane Randall, NMPL’s Director. “With this project, we seek to broaden the scope of our educational programming, address food insecurity, encourage healthy eating, promote environmental care, and build community connections. We are grateful to POET for supporting our vision and giving us the resources we need to make it a reality!"
The mission of the North Manchester Public Library is to provide materials, programs, and services necessary to meet the recreational and educational needs of the community in a comfortable and easily-accessible facility, which is a community center of activity and information.