It doesn't take more than a seed, water and an indoor environment to grow produce.

The Webster County Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC) Neighborhood Center recently installed its Tower Garden, which produces fresh vegetables and fruit.

"The tower garden is up and growing," said Sara Villines, OACAC Family Resource Specialist. "We have anything from leafy greens to fruits."

A tower garden is an indoor, vertical hydroponic growing system. It uses only 10% of the land and water that traditional farming uses, and it recycles all of the water and nutrients from the plants and reuses them in the growing system. The pH-balanced ionic minerals and plant nutrients in in the tower garden system produce strong, healthy plants that can better protect themselves from plant pests and disease — without pesticides.

"It's a really cool system," said Villines. "We already have grown some good produce with it. So far, we have spinach, collard greens, cilantro, rosemary and kale."

Villines said they stock the People’s Pantry with healthy produce options for families or others who want them. Eventually, they will have strawberries, cherry tomatoes and jalapeños.

"The Tower Garden is pretty popular," said Villines. "All of the produce we stock in the Tower Garden gets taken. There have been a few times where we have seen only a couple items left over in the People's Pantry."

Villines said originally they wanted to do recipe classes with the produce, but they aren’t doing that, due to COVID-19. However, they will continue to grow more vegetables and fruits for families or others who need them.

The produce is available for free at the People’s Pantry in front of the Webster County OACAC building, 50 York Drive, Marshfield.

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