Students at three Louisa County schools will get to grow their own vegetables right in the classroom, thanks to new hydroponic systems delivered in November.
Jouett and Thomas Jefferson elementary schools and Louisa County High School each received one HYVE® LF-ONE hydroponic system from Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom and the Louisa County Rotary Club.
“We celebrate the opportunity to provide schools, teachers and students with resources to enhance learning about agriculture and encourage students’ curiosity about farming and the sources of their food,” said Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC programs director. “These schools were selected because teachers in each integrate agriculture into their core content.”
The LF-ONE hydroponic systems, each valued at $750, were partially funded by the rotary club. The donations also included curriculum and lesson plans for teachers, bringing the total donation value to each school to about $1,000.
The hydroponic systems will give students the opportunity to learn how to cultivate crops differently from traditional farming techniques. Hydroponics is a popular method of growing produce without soil or natural light – instead using water, a nutrient solution and LED grow lights. Ideal for small spaces, the systems can be used year-round and are an easy, efficient way to grow produce without requiring much maintenance and upkeep like a traditional garden.
Dawn Lipscomb, a nature education teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, accepted one of the hydroponic systems and is looking forward to the new project.
“The students will get to see the entire growing process – from seed to harvest – in a controlled environment throughout the year and have hands-on experiences,” Lipscomb said. “It was such an honor to be entrusted with the system, and even though I have not directly worked with hydroponics yet, I am excited that the students and I will learn together.”
Along with donations like this, Virginia AITC works to connect children with agriculture and farming by providing educators with materials and resources to use with their students. The program’s website, Facebook page and YouTube channel contain free, curriculum-focused lesson plans, activities, demonstrations and even virtual farm tours.
The Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a 501c3 nonprofit organization supported by individuals and businesses throughout the commonwealth. The program promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of agriculture through education and outreach activities such as providing accurate agriculture resources, school grants and professional development. To learn more, visit AgInTheClass.org.