Aspirus Wausau going green with new hydroponic gardens

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 6:04 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Aspirus Wausau Hospital is trying its hand at sustainable gardening with its new vertical hydroponic gardens. The gardens are a sustainable source because it reuses water and does not need soil.

The gardens are funded by the Community Foundation, which is also paying for two more vertical gardens for the Wausau hospital. Aspirus hopes they can get the hydroponic machines across their network.

“In an effort for the sustainability project in the hospital, it’s one small piece to add to that. We’re hoping to have the same opportunities for other teams as well,” Aspirus Fodd Services Manager Mary Susens said.

The hospital is working on its third batch of lettuce right now. They’re getting some help in the garden from their Project Search interns.

“They’re going to be responsible for this harvest, they’re going to be responsible for our vertical garden this cycle,” Susens said.

Project Search is a program that helps adults with disabilities to get hands-on job skills. The interns were excited to hear about their newest project.

“I’m very excited to see how much growth it’s going to have while working with it for the project search classroom,” Project Search students Brayton Daupert said.

So far, the garden has only grown lettuce. The last batch of leafy greens found their way into the lunchroom.

“The last batch we were lucky enough to harvest and use the very same day in a salad offering in our cafeteria for the employees of the hospital,” Susens said.

The group is expecting to harvest their lettuce in about 30 days. Mary expects the students to learn valuable lessons before the harvest date arrives.

“You don’t need a chemistry degree, it’s very basic, and you have a great sense of accomplishment. I think they’re going to learn a lot,” Susens said.

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