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100 Gardens fundraiser helps students learn value of food security
April 17 showcase benefits Charlotte nonprofit
Published Tuesday, April 6, 2021 7:20 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

The 100 Gardens fundraiser benefits food security programs at area schools like Garinger High School, which has an aquaponics garden.

The Homegrown Tomato Festival has gone virtual.

The signature 100 Gardens fundraiser will be split into two parts: Before Those Maters’ Are Planted on April 17 from 12-5 p.m. and After Those Maters’ Are Harvested on July 17. Registration is open for the April event for $18 per email registration, plus a $2.50 service fee.

Tickets include live Q&A sessions with AppHarvest, a company combining technology and farming to help people use less to grow more, author and horticulturalist Brie Arthur, Charlotte-based farmer Erin Hostetler and author Craig LeHoullier.

Tickets include access to presentation materials from each speaker, access to cooking and cocktail demonstrations, cocktail afterparty with breakout rooms for networking during the final 45 minutes and a discount code for the second part of the festival. July tickets will be sold separately.

Leah & Louise owner and two-time James Beard award nominee Chef Greg Collier and mixologist Justin Hazelton will lead cooking and cocktail demonstrations. The Homegrown Tomato Festival will also include virtual greenhouse tours and surprise guests.

The festival would typically be held in-person, but like many organizations, they had to cancel their 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

100 Gardens is a local non-profit providing aquaponics greenhouses to schools and institutions in the community. Their programs are in local high schools, juvenile correctional facilities and other locations across the state and East coast.

The goal is to introduce sustainable agriculture and the importance of healthy foods by having students learn how to grow their own food from start to finish. Aquaponics provides a closed loop system in which fish provide nutrients necessary to grow vegetables. The vegetables in turn provide clean water for the fish and ultimately the conservation of water.  

Partnering schools include Garinger High School, Walter G. Byers School, West Charlotte High School, Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center (a juvenile correctional facility in Concord) and other locations. They  offer a 10-week certificate program for greenhouse management and aquaponics at Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center, which is the flagship program and began in 2013. There they produce 60 heads of lettuce per week, which are used at the center.

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