Four Fox Valley school districts growing greens after donation
APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Students aren’t the only thing growing in several Fox Valley schools this year. Appleton, Freedom, Kaukauna and Little Chute are now producing their own leafy greens.
Appleton East High School is just one of four local schools to receive flex farms from Fork Farms. The indoor vertical hydroponic growing systems were funded by a donation from East Wisconsin Savings Bank. “Being able to partner with the schools is just an added bonus for us because it just spreads the knowledge and the learning experience to so many more people.”
The flex farms can grow up to 30 pounds of leafy greens a week. Some of those greens are being incorporated into school meals for those in class, others are being boxed up and given away through the Appleton school district’s food program. The growing of greens expands an already successful gardening program at East High School.
“This is something I can do year round, throughout the whole year and the students can be the ones in charge and actually planting, watching it grow, taking care of chemicals and it’s just such an amazing system,” says East High School teacher Ryan Marx.
While school staff is tending to the hydroponic systems right now they’re anxious to get the students back in class so that they can get the hands-on learning too. Marx adds, “I think that the students are going to be amazed at how fast it actually does grow and just the energy that a tiny little seed produce something like this in less than 28 days is incredible.”
And the flex farms aren’t just going to feed the body, they’ll also enrich the lives of those who benefit from their bounty.
“It’s feeding our community, it’s feeding our kids in our community. It’s providing opportunity for them to donate and give back, which I think is incredible. It’s giving them an opportunity to learn about the environment, about STEM education and it actually gives them real hands-on experience that will lend itself to careers later down the line,” adds Alex Tyink from Fork Farms.
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