UCC Library in collaboration with Buildings and Estates and Green Towers Ireland installed 3 aeroponic towers in Summer 2022.
The towers grow fresh nutritious food year-round almost anywhere, requiring much less space and less water than traditional methods. The aeroponic system is an advanced form of hydroponics, which involves growing plants without any substrate, using only water and nutrients. The plants are suspended in the air, and their roots are periodically misted with nutrient solution.
The towers were placed in 3 busy student social spaces in the library for maximum visibility and connection to the plants as they grow. Green Towers installed and maintain the towers, including harvesting every 4-6 weeks before replanting.
On harvest days a stall is set up and the fresh produce, wrapped in paper as bouquets, is given away to students. Seeing the food grow from tiny seedlings to the full and leafy green harvest on ‘market days’ directly connects them to a more sustainable and tangible way of producing food rather than the disconnection of picking something up from a supermarket shelf, the disconnection that contributes to massive amounts of food waste. Library lettuce as they call it creates positive connections between students, the library and sustainable methods of growing food. This, in conjunction with the many sustainability policies within the library helps us to educate on sustainable practices, and crucially, how they all connect to the bigger picture of why we must do all that we can.