Special Growers, a nonprofit organization in Blount County, hires people with a range of disabilities to grow, cut, package and deliver plants and herbs to local restaurants. Earlier this month, Horticulture Lighting Group donated $12,000 worth of LED lights to the organization.
HLC, a company based in Union County, specializes in selling LED lighting for the purpose of growing a large amount of plants. LED lighting, which first hit the market for gardeners about five years ago, has been transformative in the gardening process, according to Steve Johnson, owner of HLC. “These lights give off 80% to 90% more light than the traditional bulb,” he said.
The true power of the LED lights lies in their cost efficiency. LED lights can cut electrical costs by nearly 40%, Johnson said. These lights have been on the radar of Kent Davis, founder of Special Growers, for a while. “They’re the only lights that have high wattage and are energy efficient,” he said. “But they were too expensive.” After meeting Davis and learning about his organization, Johnson wanted to help.