Health Fair at Indian River County

By Olivia Zugay and Violet Krochmalny

Each summer Indian River County hosts its Employee Health Fair, also open to the public with a wide array of vendors displaying products and services related to health, nutrition and well being. This year on Friday, June 23rd, Indian River County Extension was ready and waiting for clients at their booth along with more than 50 other informational displays and vendors. At the Extension table, attendees learned about the benefits of growing plants in their offices and willing participants received a hydroponic grow-kit that included materials to grow lettuce or herbs at their desks.

It has been reported that having plants within an office environment can provide numerous benefits for workers. Studies show stress reduction, cleaner air quality, increased worker productivity and noise reduction are all some of the many advantages of having living plants in the work area.

Indian River Extension Agents Christine Kelly-Begazo, Darren Cole and Nickie Munroe all were on hand throughout the day providing materials and directions for growing leaf lettuce or basil using small desk-sized hydroponic kits. Participants filled out a brief survey then could pick out their choice of a 2 week old plant, and cup. Along with fertilizer mix and instructions of how to mix the growing solution and keep the plant at their desks clients also received contact information for any further questions.

IRC Environmental Horticulture Agent Nickie Munroe

Extension staff and volunteers have been trained to do Plant 911 – triage for failing plants! Follow up surveys will be sent out to participants at the Health Fair to see how successful they were at  growing the lettuce or basil in their office and weather this increased their desire to eat more vegetables throughout the day. Based upon the enthusiasm of the county employees and the public, good results are highly anticipated!

IRC Agriculture Agent Christine Kelly-Begazo and happy customer

For more information on hydroponic gardens click here:
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_hydroponic_gardening