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A Lesson in Hydroponics at Bradford K-8

A Lesson in Hydroponics at Bradford K-8
Posted on 03/14/2018

One of Rhoda Fosler's fourth-grade students checks a hydroponic tower growing spinach and other vegetables during an indoor farmer's market at Bradford K-8.It was a good crowd for a Friday afternoon, at the Bradford K-8 student farmer’s market. This one was quite a bit different from most because all of the produce is grown and sold inside. The growing and selling space is part of Rhoda Fosler’s fourth-grade classroom.

“I am just so thrilled with the kids. If you only knew how engaged they’ve been through this whole project and the fact that they just want to keep building on it,” said Fosler.

A mix of hydroponic, aeroponic, and dirt gardens are used to grow everything from strawberry spinach herbs to just about everything else you’d find in an outdoor setting.

“We’re growing herbs, celery, tomatoes, peppers,” explained student Jack Famariss.
Lettuce, kale, bok choy… they’re actually doing really good,” added student Eleni Manutes.

The parents love it just as much as the students.

“It’s awesome. I saw it a couple of weeks ago for conferences, and everything was pretty small, and now I’ve got enough lettuce to make Ceasar’s Salad for dinner tonight, so I’m pretty excited,” said parent Cherie Knudsen.

It all started two years ago when a parent donated an aeroponic tower garden.

“I had the kids create an experiment with it, and they actually tested the difference of soil gardens versus the aeroponic gardens,” explained Fosler. “And when they did that, they saw how much faster the plants grew in the aeroponics.”

With the help of the school’s PTA and some grant money, the project blossomed.

“So now we have eight aeroponics, we have six hydroponic buckets, plus we have quite a few soil gardens, and we’re adding to those,” said Fosler.

Besides a set of green thumbs, the students have picked up a wide range of experiential knowledge.

“They’ve researched what crops they want to grow, and which would maybe produce better yields and so they actually researched before we even planted our first seeds,” explained Fosler.

They’ve also discovered what it takes to become successful entrepreneurs, including practical experience in pricing and marketing. For a lot of these students, it’s led to new culinary adventures, too.

“My daughter’s really picky, and she’s growing her own vegetables, and she’s promised me she would try all of these things that I have,” said Knudsen.

“It’s just been a fun thing to watch the kids with this real-life learning,” added Fosler.

See the JPS-TV version of this story here or below.

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