Dollar Bay Tamarack City Area Schools grows Tower Gardens

Eat green, eat clean.
Garden Towers beat the short growing season in the Upper Peninsula.
Garden Towers beat the short growing season in the Upper Peninsula.(WLUC)
Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT
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HOUGHTON, Mich. (WLUC) - After Teacher Carrie Meneguzzo began outdoor gardening at the Dollar Bay Tamarack City school, Teacher Jade Babcock thought to expand that idea indoors with hydroponic garden towers.

“I had written a grant a few years ago for it,” said Babcock. “It didn’t get funded. But, Carrie encouraged me to apply for another grant she saw through the Portage Health Foundation.”

This time she applied, the grant was approved. Now, the Dollar Bay Tamarack City school was funded for two Tower Gardens.

The Tower Gardens produce fruits, vegetables and herbs year-round.

Students plant the seeds and transplant seedlings to the gardens, teaching them the skill of gardening.

“I have my bag of lettuce here that I cut this morning,” said Meneguzo, touting the fresh bag of harvested greens. “These lettuce plants have been growing for months. I just cut them [and] bring it down to Mz. Judy, our food supervisor, and she’ll incorporate it into the student lunches.”

The Tower Gardens are located directly inside the entrance to the school. This way, students are reminded every day that it’s relatively easy to eat a little healthier and be a little more sustainable.

“Our idea was to use this as a tool to connect the kids with their health and their healthy habits, and promoting a healthy lifestyle,” added Babcock. “So, hoping that they’ll eat healthier while they’re in school, but also take that knowledge home.”

As time goes on, the school hopes it can continue incorporating more sustainable, health-conscious and student-inclusive projects like this into its daily routine.

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