As populations continue to grow, more food will have to be produced in the next 50 years as the past 10,000 years combined. With that substantial increase, hydroponic farming is becoming more popular as it allows farmers to plant four times the amount of crops in the same space as traditional soil farming.
Thanks to the support of local farmers and America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education℠, Harford County Public Schools received a $10,000 grant to incorporate a hydroponics garden as a tool in the classroom.
America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, gives farmers the opportunity to nominate a public school district in their community to compete for a grant of either $10,000 or $25,000 to enhance education in the areas of math and/or science. More than 1,000 nominated school districts submitted applications. The Monsanto Fund will invest $2.3 million into rural education through this program.
“When the renovations at our school happened and our field was cut in half, we decided to address the issue of limited space by looking at alternative ways to grow feed for our campus animals,” said Gregory Murrell, Harford County Public Schools’ coordinator of the Natural Resources and Agricultural Science Magnet Program. “We have a spacious greenhouse and decided to use hydroponically grown forage as a supplement to the feed source. Our goal is to investigate different hydroponically grown forage crops and evaluate their effectiveness for our animals.”
After being nominated by local farmers, school districts completed an online application, and finalists were chosen by math and science teachers from ineligible school districts. The America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Advisory Council, a group of 26 prominent farmers from across the country, then reviewed the finalists’ applications and selected the winners.
“We have long known that part of our success depends on the support of our farm community,” Murrell said. “We are grateful to our supporting farmers and to the members of our Agricultural Advisory Committee who continue to help shape our growing program, and also understand the value in Agricultural Education. We are true partners in this process.”
Harford County Public Schools was presented with the $10,000 grant during a presentation at North Harford High School’s Agriculture Advisory Breakfast on Thursday, Nov. 8.
For e-mail updates whenever a new article is posted, please subscribe at the top of the page and follow me on Twitter: @TracyUrena or join me on Facebook.