Indoor garden advocate spreading sustainable alternatives from Springboro

A Vandalia Butler High School graduate is cultivating sustainable indoor garden projects in multiple states and across the world from a storefront in Olde Springboro.

Tami Kincer operates Cross Creek Hydroponics from an historic home on South Main Street. She moved back to the Miami Valley to be closer to her family in the Vandalia area after conceiving of her non-profit and for-profit businesses while living in North Carolina.

Kincer managed a project expected to bear vegetables for a food pantry in Vandalia, once the pandemic has passed. She is also in talks expected to result in growing walls producing food in several locations around the Miami Valley, elsewhere in Ohio and in India.

“It’s exploding with projects from local to regional to international,” Kincer said last week.

Kincer designs voice and data networks for a living. While working at a soup kitchen in Lake Norman, N.C. in 2017, Kincer realized she needed to do something to improve the diet and eating habits of the children fed there.

“We wanted to instill the love of fresh vegetables,” Kincer recalled.

In February, Kincer worked with students at the Father Vincent Capodanno School in Vass, N.C. to set up growing walls there, one of a series of projects funded by North Carolina Rotary Clubs. Her work is also bearing produce in Virginia.

For about $6,000 from the Vandalia-Butler Foundation, Kincer is setting up eight five-foot towers with the necessary supplies, seeds and nutrients for a full year of growing and cultivating produce at a food pantry operated by St. Christopher Church in Vandalia.

“It pays for itself with the first couple of harvests,” Kincer said.

The towers, built by ZipGrow, based in Cornwall, Ontario, feed and water the plants. Cross Creek provides a manual, training and assistance.

Kincer, who lives in Springboro, is working with local Girl Scouts and Trotwood officials and church groups.

“They lost their only grocery,” Kincer said of her work in Trotwood.

Kincer is also in talks with an Eaton-based foundation about setting up growing walls in villages in India.

The little house where Kincer is currently operating from at 240 S. Main Street (Ohio 741) in Springboro was built in 1825. It, like her previous location on Elkin’s main thoroughfare, fits with her mission to promote sustainability and teach people how to raise fresh produce indoors.

“There are just so many things that are happening from this,” she said. “Every project is a little different.”

Credit: Lawrence Budd

Credit: Lawrence Budd

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