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Students Grow With Hydroponic Gardening Project

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Eagle Pathways 18-21 year old program at Jefferson High School has been hard at work tending to a new addition: the Fork Farms Hydroponic Growing Center. With funding from the Greater Watertown Community Health Foundation Grant, the program received $25,749.40 to purchase five Fork Farms Hydroponic Growing Centers for the School District of Jefferson. 

Students in each of five schools participate in the Flex Farm project under the direction of district teachers. Flex Farm Hydroponic pods are used to grow lettuce and greens to be served to students in the school lunch program, and to be donated to the Jefferson Food Pantry. This initiative involves student education about growing food without soil, engaging students in growing and harvesting the lettuce/greens, and developing this local school-based farm to table initiative in the school nutrition program.

The Flex Farm is an engaging cross-curricular learning tool that goes well beyond the expected STEM and health-oriented applications.The robust, turnkey curriculum package offers hands-on, cross-curricular learning opportunities for grades K–12. Growing your own food promotes healthy eating habits and a close connection to the living world around us. When placed in schools, Flex Farms give kids the opportunity to learn about agriculture while providing nutritious food to encourage lifelong healthy eating habits.

For 34 days from this past mid-October to mid-November, Eagle Pathways students successfully completed a growing cycle making sure to manage the PH, take the PPM readings, add nutrients, and water when needed. On November 21st, Eagle Pathways students harvested their first round of fresh lettuce. They then donated their harvest to the Jefferson Food Pantry. The Jefferson Food Pantry was grateful to receive the donation, and Eagle Pathways students were thrilled to be able to make the delivery!

This item was submitted by the Office of the Superintendent of the County of Jefferson. For more information, please contact Valerie Schmitt, Assistant to the Superintendent.