The Leonia Academy for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (L.A.H.C.A.) at Leonia High School operates and maintains two indoor grow gardens (i.e., Tower Garden® aeroponic growing system). These grow gardens began operation in October of 2018 in an effort to promote sustainability in the Family and Consumer Sciences program, specifically the L.A.H.C.A. program.
One senior L.A.H.C.A. student is in charge of all aspects of the grow gardens, including reading and following set-up and operating instructions, starting seeds, maintaining and harvesting plants, and ordering supplies. The student in charge then trains interested L.A.H.C.A. students on operating the grow gardens for next year. Each year, students will train their successors on grow garden operation and maintenance.
The grow gardens are completely student-operated. Culinary teachers choose plants most useful to the culinary program. The student starts the seeds, grows and cultivates the requested plants as well as self-chosen plants. Some of the plants grown include: arugula, kale, basil, parsley, morning glory, bok choy, bibb lettuce, edamame, lavender. Produce is then used in the culinary lab and for special events.
Data is being collected on grow cycles, which plants grow best, and how best to operate and maintain the grow gardens. This is a developing program with educational program materials in the developmental stage.