Spring is right around the corner, so we decided to put together a class to get everyone excited about growing food. Our friends over at Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture nonprofit, put together a class that was held at our office in Pittsburgh on February 19, 2013. Through growing food and teaching others how to grow it, they seek to demonstrate, teach and promote responsible urban food production. It’s really great to have an organization like this in our backyard that can assist our managers with how to start a garden at their accounts.
I was thrilled to see that we had over 20 people in attendance and we had an opportunity to ask each of them what they were trying to get out of the class. We got a range of responses; some just want to start a small plot garden with herbs and others were interested in exploring alternative growing production.
One of our accounts, Allegheny College, has an Aquaponic operation. Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Basically, the fish waste provides the nutrients for the plants to grow. At this specific location, they are raising Tilapia and growing romaine lettuce. So needless to say we have operations that are doing some pretty cool stuff. (I’ll look to blog about this in the near future).
The goal of this class was to make sure that the accounts that wanted to start growing food had the tools to make it a reality and the first step was to educate them. The attendees took away information about how to start a garden, how to plant and harvest and lastly how to trouble shoot during the season. Everyone that left the class felt confident about getting their hands dirty in starting their own garden.
Due to the overwhelming success of this class, we’ll look to conduct it onsite at two locations next year.
Until Next Time,