Happy New Year! This month, Fuel4School Montclair is featuring Watchung Elementary School and their efforts to grow their own Fuel4School!
With the help of teachers and parents, Watchung has a fully functional greenhouse, and through the use of hydroponics-a method of growing plants without soil-the bounty has been plentiful.
The greenhouse supports two growing systems-one for growing greens with recycled water (Nutrient Film Technique) and one for growing vining plants that hang vertically to maximize growing space (a Vine Crop System).
Watchung students benefit from the hands-on experience of the greenhouse hydroponic growing with direct applications to their science and technology curricula. They have the opportunity to eat and donate what they grow! Tastings of Romaine lettuce and cucumbers were recently offered in the lunchroom. A parent who attended said, “The looks on some of the kids faces knowing they watched all of this grow in class and now they’re eating it was pretty cool.” Plans to incorporate the greenhouse harvests into the lunch program are currently under development. Watchung also donates greens to Toni’s Kitchen; an incredible and valuable opportunity for the students.
Watchung’s hydroponic greenhouse is not only integrated into their curriculum, but it is also feeding the students and the Montclair community! Congratulations to Watchung Elementary School for their innovative focus on the health and wellness of their students and community!
(photo credits: Mary Afragola Moore)