ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – The “Green Bronx Machine” brings vertical gardening to a select group of students in St. Louis. Tuesday Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club launched the “Green St. Louis Machine”, for fresh leafy vegetables grown right in the classroom.
It’s a science lesson with benefits. The compact, state of the art vertical gardens will produce fresh vegetables and herbs in just a couple of days. The man behind the “green machine” in the South Bronx Stephen Ritz, says it helped his students think creatively, problem solve, and understand the joys of gardening. So Dawn Rathman of Fit 4 Excellence says she thought of Mathews-Dickey Boys and Girls Club when considering bringing the idea here. “This is the prototype. We are creating a whole program based on what he`s already accomplished and we`ve got his support, to help us.”
The aeroponic garden kits include everything you’ll need from the seeds to the tower. Seeds are placed in a little container which sits in a tray of water. Once you’ve got a starter plant, you put it in the tower. The system waters automatically every fifteen minutes. And the water is treated with necessary nutrients. Jayla Roberts an 8th grader at Pamoja Academy is ready to grow. ‘You have to test it using the water you put inside the tower. You have to put drops into and make sure it`s at the right level.’
The aeroponic gardens are set up at Pamoja Academy, Northside Community School, Grand Center Arts Academy and Mathews-Dickey. Each location will manage three vertical gardens according to Debra Denham Interim President and CEO of Mathews-Dickey. ‘This is an opportunity for these kids to be involved daily, to sit next to it in class, while they`re learning math science and actually using some of that as part of their lesson plan.’
By mid November the students will all return to Mathews-Dickey for a dinner that includes the fresh vegetables harvested from their gardens