RICHMOND, Va. — Students at Virginia Heights Elementary School in Roanoke will get to cultivate leafy greens and other plants in their classrooms with a new hydroponic system presented by Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom.
The school received a HYVE® LF-ONE hydroponic system from Virginia AITC as part of a statewide giveaway to mark the organization’s 30th anniversary. AITC presented the system to the school on Feb. 6; Virginia Heights is one of four schools in Virginia that won hydroponics donations. More than 700 schools were entered into the drawing.
“We celebrate the opportunity to provide schools, teachers and students with resources to enhance learning about agriculture and encourage students’ curiosity in farming and the sources of their food,” said Tammy Maxey, Virginia AITC executive director.
The LF-ONE hydroponic system, valued at $750, came with a related curriculum and lesson plans that bring the total value to approximately $1,000.
The system will allow students to cultivate crops using an alternative to 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, hydroponic systems can be used year-round and are an easy, efficient way to grow produce without the upkeep required by a traditional garden.
“Our students have always enjoyed learning about the plant life cycle, but the seasons limited the window of time for them to have a hands-on experience,” said Dana Witt, Virginia Heights Elementary School’s assistant principal. “All students from pre-K to fifth grade will be active participants, and as the hydroponic unit speeds up the growing process, our students are looking forward to having the opportunity to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables.”
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 that promotes a greater understanding and appreciation of agriculture through education and outreach activities. To learn more and support, visit AgInTheClass.org.
–Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom