US (OR): Aquaponics and greenhouses to grow produce year-round

In 2021, Garden of Health distributed more than 150,000 pounds of fresh produce and a total of more than 350,000 pounds of food to help provide for local people in need. “Which comes to more than 1.2 million servings of healthy food,” said Carol Bauer, the founder, and chief operating officer of the organization that distributes fresh produce and foods free of the top eight allergens to organizations and individuals in Montgomery and Bucks counties.

“We have over 30 organizations that we support, from food pantries to Meals on Wheels to weekend backpack programs to community meals to homeless bags, plus individual clients,” Bauer said. The food comes from donations and produce grown by Garden of Health on a one-acre property in Towamencin Township.

With the addition of a 7.8-acre tract of land, provided by Hatfield Township, adjacent to John S. Clemens Memorial Park, Garden of Health will be able to expand the amount of food it raises and distributes. Work to build the new facilities will begin in late summer or the fall of 2022, with the first food grown there coming in 2023, Bauer said. “We plan on having raised beds,” she said. “At least some, if not all, will be ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant so that no matter what anybody’s ability level is, they can come out and volunteer.”

“We intend on having a patio space that we can do classes and invite the community into, three greenhouses at least that will allow us to grow year-round, and we want to incorporate aquaponics with that,” Bauer said. “We’ll need to have two paid farmhands, one that knows traditional farming and one that knows aquaponic systems,” Bauer said. “The rest of it will be done by volunteers.”

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