By | October 9, 2019

(Spindale, NC) – The Rutherford County Library is pleased to announce the acceptance of two grants provided by the RHI Legacy Foundation and the Rutherford County Endowment of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Both grant awards, which together total almost $15,000.00, are being used to fund two complimentary projects, “Exploring Edibles” and “Now You’re Cooking!”

Funds from the “Exploring Edibles” grant have been used to purchase three hydroponic Tower Garden® units for the library system to exhibit in multiple library locations, as well as in partner locations throughout the county. Currently, one garden is located at the County Library on Callahan-Koon Road in Spindale, one at the Mountains Branch in Lake Lure, and one in Rutherford Hospital’s lobby atrium. Library staff maintain the gardens located at the libraries, while RS Central High School’s FFA Club maintains the garden within the hospital. These soil-free tower gardens, complete with a vertical, aeroponic growing system, provide space to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in less than three square feet, either inside or outdoors.

The “Now You’re Cooking!” grant funds are being used to purchase a Charlie Cart, which is a mobile kitchen on wheels that includes a full curriculum with classroom-tested recipes. The Charlie Cart Project is intended to empower communities with a portable, accessible culinary education program and connect the dots between food, health and the environment. Together, the Tower Gardens and Charlie Cart will be instrumental in educating community members about food production, access to fresh and healthy foods, and basic skills to prepare that food.

Library Director April Young explains that “the library is optimistic that this interactive programming will prompt increased attention to the existence of food deserts within Rutherford County and the importance of food education and health.”

The library recently partnered with the Rutherford County Cooperative Extension Office to offer classes on “Basics of Hydroponic Gardening” and “Heirloom Plants and Seed-Saving.” Community members can look forward to similar classes in the future, as well as cooking demonstrations for all ages and skill levels.

For questions, please call the Rutherford County Library at 828-287-6115 or email Engle at elizabeth.troxler@rutherfordcountync.gov.