US (PA): Former detention center now educated kids on indoor farming

First News reporter Desirae Gostlin took a tour of their urban farm. Lawrence County Social Services took over the site in Lawrence County a few years ago, and they have been renovating it.

One of their initiatives to get to kids eating healthier foods and they do that by teaching them how to grow food. They have a traditional outdoor garden and an indoor food laboratory where they grow lettuce for meals for children in their early childhood education program. 

This room can produce enough lettuce to feed 425 students. It can take several hours to harvest this room when it’s fully grown, somewhere around 40 to 50 pounds of greens.

“A lot of our kids think that food comes from the dollar general or the supermarket. They don’t understand how the process of food works,” said Kristen Green, a representative from Lawrence County Social Services. “So to teach them agriculture — to teach them things they can do at home to make healthy decisions with their eating. That will influence so much of their lives.”

Good nutrition is essential in children who are pre-school-aged. Healthy eating is linked to increased brain function and development. The produce doesn’t just go to feed children. It is also donated to the community through meal boxes to help the elderly and poor.

Many of these growing units were purchased through grant money from the USDA and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. These greens are grown completely without soil through a hydroponics system, and they don’t need to use pesticides because it’s inside. 

Read the complete article at WKBN 27 


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