Chapala Gardens is a rooftop aeroponic farm in Santa Barbara, California. Established in 2012, Chapala Gardens was the first such rooftop farm in the Western USA and includes 32 Tower Gardens up to 8’ in height. The farm is installed atop a 110-year-old 2-story building by the beach, which required founder Sandy Campbell to first retrofit the roof to support the impressive installation.
Once installed, roughly two-thirds of the rooftop space was used for growing and the remaining third for lounging and events. Chapala Gardens holds numerous workshops and open-house events centered on using the Tower Garden to produce healthy local produce. Most of the bounty is donated to local charity food-providers like The Salvation Army.
According to Sandy Campbell, founder of Chapala Gardens, “Our principal reason for having the tower garden is to be a model what you can do with it, to be an exhibit of what can be grown, and to be this venue for people in our organization to showcase the potential.”
Sandy Campell, Founder
Also key in Chapala Gardens’ development is Mark Soler who is adamant that soil-based growing simply isn’t an option for everyone, and that aeroponics is an innovative solution. “I get into arguments a lot when people say we should be growing food in the ground. This can’t be good. If you think about it, only a small minority of people have good ground and land that they can grow in.” That is where Tower Garden has proven most effective, both ergonomically and that it uses only 10% of the water lost in traditional soil gardens
Tower Garden is a subsidiary of The Juice Plus+ Company, the world’s largest seller of encapsulated plant-based whole food. Tower Garden is a vertical, soil-less aeroponic system that enables the production of vegetables, herbs, fruiting crops and flowers atop a 30” reservoir. And for Chapala Gardens, the objective is to bring Tower Gardens into as many homes as possible.
“Our goal is that everyone should have a living, aeroponic tower on their back porch, balcony or even inside their home, just like they have a refrigerator,” says Sandy.
While COVID-19 shut down the country, it reportedly ignited Tower Garden sales as North American sales doubled. “People were shut-in and began putting attention into what homes had or didn’t have. Children weren’t going to school, so parents needed new ways to involve them and inspire them. Gardening is the ideal way to get kids connected with the source of their food.”
Looking forward to 2021, Tower Garden is increasing its reach and plans to reach the European market in May 2021. However, Tower Farms sells commercial installations worldwide through accredited re-sellers like Mr. Campbell – even smaller 10-Tower arrays.