Hydroponic Use Improving Eating at Windom Area High School
Windom Area High School's Greenhouse Management class is using hydroponic towers to grow their own vegetables.
The class adopted the use of hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil. Their lab contains 20 hydroponic towers, which they use to learn how to grow their own food.
Agricultural Instructor Darcy Dahna said they have had their fair share of trial and error experiments. However, they have learned a lot from it.
"We found that anything 'viney' was not a really good idea, cause it would climb up the poles and shade everything else, so the other plants wouldn't work," said Dahna.
Dahna said their best growers are their different types of lettuce.
"We did some polling of the kids that ate the lettuce at the lunch service, and they like the Romaine type, so we type a majority of that."
Through funding, the school was able to install the towers. However, they are still planning to add 10 more, to complete the school's hydroponic lab.
Student Samantha Fulfs said the class provides a great learning experience.
"I love it, the teacher's amazing, she teaches us a lot and we all get to make whatever we like," said Fulfs.
The class grew nutritious food like lettuce, peppers, kale, tomatoes and cucumber. Dahna said after they grow it, they hand it off to food services, who then prepares it.
"The school is very supportive because they like the fresh lettuce and the fresh kale that they get at lunch," said Dahna. "The kids like it for being able to actually see what they're eating and the whole process."
Dahna said the whole thing has gone over very well.
Students analyzed the pH levels of the water and the production process of the plants. As they continue to learn from the class, they will work to improve the eating habits of their peers.