At the Food Bank of South Jersey, we’re always looking for ways to grow our offerings, whether it’s through essential programs, engaging nutrition courses, or focused service outreach. But one area of growth that’s continued to expand in a figurative and literal sense is the Healthy Living Initiative (HLI) program.
A program that was initiated in 2011 by FBSJ’s President and CEO, Val Traore, HLI provides hands-on learning experiences that empower healthier lifestyle choices for targeted demographics including kids, seniors, diabetics, teens and many more. Students from Burlington High School were recently introduced to the HLI team’s growing initiatives through a blossoming project, spearheaded by the team’s Americorps Vista, Emily Bryer. Read Emily’s project success story about their flourishing Grow Tower and how it’s benefited these students, below!
In late February the Healthy Living Initiative (HLI) department at the Food Bank installed a hydroponic grow tower at Burlington High School in Mrs. Livingston’s culinary arts classroom. Grow towers are an excellent learning tool for students as they require minimal work, use no dirt, take up little space, and can be kept indoors. Each plant grows in a small cube of rock wool and sprouts in a matter of weeks. The cubes are then placed in plastic baskets which snap into spaces on the tower. Since its installation the Burlington High School tower has flourished and provided an abundance of vegetables and herbs (e.g. lettuce, swiss chard, basil, and parsley) which Mrs. Livingston’s classes have used in their recipes. During a recent indoor field day, a group of students used herbs and lettuce from the tower to make goulash, chicken Milano, a side salad, and ranch dressing.