Since 2006, Future Growing® has been partnering with the nation’s leading schools to create healthier lunches and hands-on science lessons. It’s gratifying to see Future Growing’s® aeroponic technology being welcomed by education, because we know firsthand how students of all ages benefit from learning to grow food in their schools. These kids will soon be the decision-makers of the 21st century, and will be faced with serious choices on managing our future supplies and quality of water, air, and soil.
On my recent trip to the Hawaiian Islands, I had a chance to share in and to implement the future of sustainable vertical aeroponic food production.
Wherever I travel in the U.S. today, it is an area where our fresh water supply is limited or almost gone, the water is contaminated, and land is expensive. Everyone is simply running out of space for agriculture, and Hawaii is no exception.
For over 1,000 years the Hawaiian people produced enough food to support an estimated population of 1 million. Today, 85 to 90 percent of Hawaii’s food is imported.
Our work in Hawaii has been so successful that during a state agriculture event, state senator Mike Gabbard presented an award to Tim Blank:
“The Senate of the State of Hawaii hereby honors and commends Tim Blank. Mahalo for putting your heart and soul into inspiring healthy living. You are instilling a new sense of belief and pride in our ability to grow our own nutritious food, which offers hope to people everywhere in the world. We wish you many more years of happiness and success in all your future endeavors.”
I was truly humbled by the thoughtful kindness provided to me by the Hawaiian people.
Even more exciting was my trip to Hawaii’s Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership on the campus of Iolani School in Honolulu. Here I got to spend time with our nation’s youngest future leaders. During my tour of the school, it seemed that Tower Gardens® popped up around every corner and the school had engaged in radical growing behavior!
I was invited to share in a traditional Hawaiian Tower Garden® lunch, but it was anything but traditional.
Kids were harvesting their own salads and vegetables. Another group was pedaling a stationary bike that powered a blender making green smoothies! Wow! These kids are living beyond any green standards I have ever seen.
It got even better than that. During lunch, our mascot “Phytonutrient” (pictured at right, with Tim) was teaching all the children the importance of the colors in food, or phytonutrients, which only come from fresh fruits and vegetables. Phytonutrients heal and protect our bodies from disease, they explained. At this school, science truly demonstrates that children who grow their own fruits and vegetables certantly eat more fruits and vegetables!
The Tower Garden® program has been so successful at the Sullivan Center for Innovation and Leadership that we are now working to convert the school’s existing green roof into a massive Future Growing® aeroponic Tower Garden® farm. This will eliminate the need for ANY fresh fruits and vegetables to be shipped to the school!
Once installed, this farm will supply all-natural, sustainable produce, using 90 percent less water and 90 percent less land, and no chemicals. The produce will also be hyper-local: it will literally be walked from the roof to the school’s cafeteria, almost completely eliminating the carbon footprint of the school’s food supply chain.
Imagine a school that graduates locavores, carbon footprint experts, and professional hydroponic farmers. Keep up the great work and innovation, Hawaii!
Founder and CEO, Future Growing® LLC