BOMA Greater Tampa Bay Sustainability Committee's Green Apple Day of Service at USF Preschool for Creative Learning

October 06, 2018

This year's projects are as follows:

Hydroponic Towers & Grow boxes
Refurbish Existing Grow boxes
Compost Boxes
Interactive learning & growth chart
Kid projects – age based activities for students who come to Green Apple Day
Contingency project – Hose run for water for Hydroponic Towers

BOMA Greater Tampa Bay in partnership with TUB Farms in conjunction with PCL would like to thank our generous sponsors: Painters on Demand, ServPro of Winter Haven, TUB Farms (Tampa Urban Benefit Farms).


Students attended


Staff attended


Additional Volunteers attended


Students will be impacted this year

Intended impact of project

Reduced environmental impact
Increased environmental & sustainability literacy

Impact of project

Energy and/or water conservation
Improved school nutrition
Educated on sustainable skills and practices
Educated on sustainability knowledge
Educated about sustainability careers

More impact of project

Early learners at the USF Preschool for Creative Learning took their first steps in leaving behind a greener footprint during a Green Apple Day of Service event hosted at the school in October.

Aspiring to encourage young students to have positive relationships with food, the service day teaches the importance of eating healthy while diminishing food waste impact. The international movement also aims to combine values of health, environmental sustainability and education to cultivate the next generation of global leaders for an ethically conscious future.

Students, families and local volunteers got their hands dirty while renovating the school’s garden. In efforts to maximize space, grow boxes overflowing with pineapples and lemongrass were replaced with an updated no-soil agricultural technique, known as hydroponic vertical gardening. Parents got involved by constructing towers and planting fruits and vegetables while the children splattered paint onto barrels that will circulate recycled water.

The service day provided the opportunity for teachers to take curriculum from inside the classroom out into the real world, and to engage with the students’ families, said Victoria Damjanovic, PhD, director of the USF Preschool for Creative Learning.

“The scope of this project allows for us to have the equipment and resources needed to teach the children, teachers and families about sustainability,” Damjanovic said. “It would not be possible without the generous donation from the Green Apple Day of Service Project.”

The project was supported by the generous support of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Greater Tampa Bay, Tampa Urban Benefit Farms (TUB Farms), SERVPRO of Winter Haven and Painters on Demand.

Specializing in hydroponic systems, TUB Farms helped coordinate the project. The organization partners with schools around the Tampa Bay area to inspire students to develop healthy habits and give back to their community.

“70 percent of the food grown will be donated,” said Nava Kirk, founder of TUB Farms and a volunteer in the service day project. “The other 20 to 30 percent, we’ll share at the school’s farmers market.

When the initial work is complete, teachers and students at the school will revisit the project through progress updates and keeping an eye on the results of their work. Every month, teachers will track plant growth versus student growth to measure when to harvest for the market.

“This is an encouraging way for kids to develop healthy habits at a young age that will grow with them to be a part of their life,” Kirk said.

1. Water Recycling - The hydroponic towers recycle the nutrient water. These towers will use up to 70% less water than traditional gardens.
2. Compost - The compost barrels are large 55 gallons drums, and by the end of the year will make a big impact on the re-use of organic materials that would otherwise go to landfills. Studies show that composted materials not only supply excellent nutrients back into the soil, but in addition compost helps reduce the methane load given off into the environment. When Compost materials are composted correctly they turn to good nutritional soil. Whereas when they are simply tossed into landfills that environment does not foster good breakdown of the organic materials, and as a consequence it results methane production.
3. The games provided to the young students at the GADS included a recycling game where students learned what items are recyclable and how to separate them out.

Below is information from the follow-up visit Thursday, March 21st 2019.

USF - Victoria Damjanovic, Elizabeth Engasser
BOMA Greater Tampa Bay – Chris Brill, Angela Bartoli, Rick Jones, David Britton
TUB Farms – Nava Kirk

Hydroponic Gardens
Have gone through several growing cycles of beans, brussels sprouts, lettuces, cabbages etc.
Student Direct learning opportunities
Learning the benefits & differences of hydroponic growing versus more traditional methods
Nutritional information about varietals that are being grown
Experimental skills gained from cataloging varietals and seeds
Entrepreneurial spirit – students have taken produce to USF farmers market.
Compost Recycling Stations
Classroom learning on the importance of reducing waste
Practical application of what can and can’t be recycled through compost process.