How does your garden grow?
For the Prairie Township Community Center, it's indoors and within the confines of a plywood sphere called "The Growroom."
Staff members from the community center and Creative Mobile Interiors assembled the urban farm pavilion on Nov. 9.
"I was researching small-space gardens, just looking for unique ways we could start a conversation with our community about growing healthy food at home, eating healthy and just improving your health in general," said James Gant, the community center's recreation director.
The Growroom concept was created by Space10, a research lab and exhibition space founded by Ikea in Copenhagen, Denmark, that is exploring how to design a better and more sustainable way of living.
"They put the details about the Growroom design on the web free for anyone to use," Gant said. "It looked like something we could use that would be a real conversation-starter."
In essence, the Growroom is "a giant ball with shelves that go around the entire area," Gant said.
"I think of it as being a 3-D plywood jigsaw puzzle," said Aaron Lane, design engineer and marketing director with Creative Mobile Interiors, a Grove City business that specializes in customizing vehicles.
"I've known Aaron since he was one of my day-campers at a summer camp," Gant said. "I knew Creative Mobile Interiors has been looking to get more involved in community projects."
"Both James and I are idea guys and I'm a design guy," Lane said. "This was a really interesting project that appealed to me."
Using the design provided by Space10, the plywood pieces for the Growroom were created at Creative Mobile Interiors using a CNC router.
"We assembled the pieces at our shop first to make sure it all fit together, then we took them apart and brought everything over to the community center to reassemble them there," Lane said.
The Growroom stands 8 feet tall with a diameter of 8 1/2 feet.
"We let it sit for several days to get it climatized before we began planting the seeds," Gant said.
The community center plans to grow herbs, strawberries, tea plants, peppers, lettuce and other produce inside the sphere.
"We placed it near a window in our building to get some sunlight and we've also installed inexpensive LED grow lights inside the structure," Gant said.
The structure has already sparked conversation, he said.
"People are excited about it and they're asking what it's all about," Gant said.
Visitors to the community center have complete 360-degree access around the Growroom and can even go inside the structure and sit on a small bench, Lane said.
"You can go in and read a book, look at the plants or just sit and meditate with the plants," he said.
Gant said he hopes the Growroom will inspire residents to start their own indoor gardens at home.
"Of course, something like the Growroom wouldn't be practical for a home, but you can create a small space or set aside a shelf in your home for a garden," he said. "You can get inexpensive grow lights in a strip with adhesive that can easily fit in a small indoor space."
The project is part of the community center's mission "of building a fun, healthy community," Gant said.
"We want to get people thinking about how to eat healthier and one way to do that is by growing your own food," he said. "You know where it comes from and it's also a way to encourage your children to be healthy eaters. They'll be more eager to eat fruits and vegetables if they're helping to grow them."