SPIRE has been growing in more ways than one lately.
Though our campus has been expanding in size and number of students lately, a different kind of growth is happening by way of fresh, green sustenance. The recent installation of a new aeroponics garden has been providing fresh lettuce and herbs to students and staff at the FUEL cafeteria. The project is being helmed by Mary Frey, Executive Sous Chef at SPIRE, she’s thrilled to have such a unique addition for everyone to enjoy.
“There are 180 plants growing in the garden at the moment with nine different varieties at the moment,” Chef Mary explained. “We are currently growing arugula, iceberg lettuce, Bibb lettuce, red oak leaf lettuce, pepper plants, Swiss chard, okra and collard greens.”
Recent nationwide supply shortages have made it difficult for several commonplace ingredients to find their way to the FUEL kitchen. The aeroponics garden helps to alleviate that issue within SPIRE.
The 120-watt LED grow lights are specifically engineered for indoor growing, which has become a rapidly growing (no pun intended) industry throughout the country over several years. With changes in climate and more efficient growing methods being developed each year, indoor growing, powered by artificial lighting, is a great way for our students to learn about another emerging career opportunity.
The garden resides at one end of the FUEL cafeteria so that all students and faculty can see the product in real-time each day.
Chef Mary is excited about the opportunity to expand the garden even further as the program evolves. “Currently, we are perfecting the growing process before expanding. But would love to grow more in the future!”