The John Hardin High School Agriculture Education department is receiving a $48,071 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and its Farm-to-School program.
The grant will create a dual-credit horticulture course and an embedded School-Based Enterprise (SBE) at JHHS. Students in the JHHS Ag program have raised lettuce for the last two years using hydroponic technology. The program then sells the lettuce to the school cafeteria for students to eat in salads at lunch.
After earning a $10,000 grant from the Altec Innovation Challenge last school year, the students are now raising tilapia for Warm Blessings, a local community kitchen that provides meals to shut-ins as well as indigent and homeless persons.
The school’s Ag students will continue to harvest food grown in the program’s hydroponic growing room that will yield high-quality, cost-efficient produce. Dual credit students will also design a mobile hydroponic lab to serve as a hub for educational outreach to younger students and the community. The project aims to advance equity in farm-to-school programming and increase the availability of local foods in the school district.
“This is an amazing opportunity for our students,” Agriculture teacher Jeremy Hall said. “This will provide students with the knowledge of running a successful business and help them to understand that agriculture is more than moving earth. The dual-credit program will reward them with college-credit hours and will give them a boost when they begin the next chapter after high school.”