By Brandon Martin
Students from Carlisle School recently got the opportunity to harvest greens from their Tower Garden.
The Tower Garden is aeroponic, which means that it allows for the growth of plants in an air or mist environment without using soil.
Gracie Agnew, head of school, explained the value of the garden during the ribbon cutting ceremony held to honor the sponsors for the program.
“This tower garden has produced our first harvest of lettuce,” she said. “The students have learned so much from this process. ”
Agnew explained that the project is “not just about the actual product,” but she noted the project is more about learning the hard work involved with raising a garden and the science behind it.
“It’s more about learning what it takes to raise a garden, and the students are learning things like pH balance of the water,” she continued. “It’s not just about the teachers or an adult telling the students about how to grow things. It’s about the hands-on experience that they are having, doing everything for themselves.”
According to Agnew, the Tower Garden provides life lessons along with the scientific aspect because they “actually are learning to appreciate the fruits of their labor.”
After the students did the cuttings of the lettuce, the school served the lettuce in the cafeteria.
Agnew said that this added another benefit for the students because “students who were not so prone to eating their vegetables” were eager to eat something they had grown themselves.
“Because it’s something coming from them, as something that they have experienced then they are so excited about their produce,” she said.
The garden produced a variety of different lettuces such as sweet lettuce. A representative of the school said that they also grew a cool weather alternative to spinach that they can have during the fall and cooler months of the year. The salads that the students ate that day were darker, more nutritious greens, according to the representative.
Agnew said that the Tower Garden was evidence of how alternative teaching methods can be effective.
“It’s what we’ve always known about learning. If it is hands on, if we allow students to actually take the lead with their learning then it will be always,” Agnew said. “It’s something they will be able to recall and to talk about because they are actually learning the way that a child needs to learn. By experimentation, by failure. This is what we are seeing today with the growth of our first produce.”
Ken Vickers and Gloria Ann Martin sponsored the Tower Garden in honor of Eliorah and Lielle Hoyer along with Garden Study Club and The Martinsville Garden Club.