In June, five members of Grayson LandCare carpooled to Draper, VA to visit Pulaski Grow, a new nonprofit housed in and around the old elementary school there.
We were given a tour by Lee Spiegel, the energetic and creative founder and executive director of this aquaponic/hydroponic food system. Indoor tanks grow tilapia, and the fish waste is piped into the homemade greenhouse to fertilize organically grown vegetables. These are sold at the Pulaski Farmers Market or to the Draper Mercantile, but the food production is Lee’s secondary goal.
Lee’s primary concern is to utilize a small business to help local youth gain employment and life skills. She offers classes in resume preparation, culminating in a videotaped interview with county officials and feedback from adults and peers; and students provide volunteer labor at the grow operation, learning basic construction skills and teamwork.
We left amazed and inspired by what Lee has accomplished with very little money and mostly recycled materials.