In New York, Maryland, California, and beyond, hydroponic farms are being used as teaching tools while also addressing food access challenges.
By Lisa Held
September 13, 2022
Inside a 4,000-square-foot greenhouse in west Baltimore at the end of June, untended basil plants were falling over and going to seed. School was out, so the farmers—students at public charter school Green Street Academy—had abandoned their crops for the summer.
No matter: Right after the July 4th holiday, a group would be back in the space for a five-week entrepreneurship program, during which they’d be trained to tend to the plants and technology and learn business skills. Since hydroponic farms don’t have to adhere to traditional growing seasons and accelerate plant growth, the herbs would get back on track in no time.
The greenhouse, which was completed last year, is one example of a new wave of middle- and high schools around the country that are embracing hydroponic farming. Advances in technology coupled with steady decreases in price make hydroponics an appealing interdisciplinary teaching tool—as well as a way to produce fresh, healthy food for students in the cafeteria and their broader communities.
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