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HOME FEDERAL BANK DONATION HELPS ‘RAISE THE ROOF’ ON DOWNTOWN YMCA COMMUNITY GIVING GARDEN
April 28, 2015
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A $5,000 donation from Home Federal Bank is helping the YMCA expand its Community Giving Garden program to include a rooftop garden at the Lindsay Young Downtown YMCA on Clinch Avenue.
The Community Giving Garden program started in 2012 at the Davis Family YMCA in West Knoxville, and a donation from the bank last year helped plant the first seeds at the second garden site at the Cansler Family YMCA in East Knoxville.
Like those gardens, the Downtown Y garden will provide fresh fruits and vegetables via area food pantries to families who otherwise might not be able to afford them. Unlike those soil-based gardens, the downtown rooftop garden will be hydroponic, a process by which plants grow in mineral-enriched water.
Hydroponics allows for more plants to be grown in a smaller footprint with less water usage. Many plants are grown vertically, and the garden will be open during the spring, summer and fall. In warm months, the garden will produce tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, beans, basil, kale and lettuce, whereas it will produce lettuce, kale and collards in cooler months.
Hydroponic gardens also offer high yields. The Y anticipates a yield of 500 to 1,000 pounds of fresh produce per year.
A dedication ceremony held at the Lindsay Young Downtown Y on April 28 included Home Federal Bank’s president and CEO, Dale Keasling, and executive vice president, Debra Smith; and Jim Dickson, president and CEO of YMCA of East Tennessee. As part of the ceremony, Home Federal Bank representatives and children planted the first seeds in the garden.
“Home Federal Bank has its roots in East Tennessee, so the YMCA Community Giving Garden program is a natural fit for us,” Keasling said. “These gardens provide nutritious food to families who need it, while also teaching young people how to raise a garden and give back to our community.”
The rooftop garden will be tended by staff members, volunteers, children involved in the Y’s Child Watch program and students from the L&N STEM Academy. All of the food grown in the garden can be consumed raw, thus providing nutrient-rich produce without the need for cooking.
The Y also encourages donations of fruits and vegetables from community members’ gardens to supplement what the YMCA garden will provide to food pantries. These donations may be dropped off at the Downtown Y.
“The cost of fresh produce can be prohibitive for families living on a tight budget,” Dickson said. “By providing produce free of charge, these gardens make it easier for low-income families and others in need to follow a healthy diet.”
About Home Federal Bank of Tennessee
Home Federal Bank of Tennessee is a locally owned, full-service bank serving East Tennesseans through 23 offices in Knox, Anderson, Blount and Sevier counties. Every quarter since 1991, the bank has earned a 5-Star Superior rating – the highest possible – by independent authority BauerFinancial. For more information, visit http://www.homefederalbanktn.com.