US (NV): Durango students harvest hydroponic lettuce as part of class

Students in teacher Lu Boren’s greenhouse class at Escalante Middle School harvested 10 pounds of lettuce on Thursday that will contribute to feeding students at other 9-R schools. The students have been growing lettuce since late August in the classroom’s hydroponic system.

The 10 pounds of lettuce will be put to use at Needham Elementary School and Escalante’s own cafeteria. Sometimes lettuce harvests are also given to Durango High School. Boren works with Manna soup kitchen as well, which helps her class by providing supplies and stock.

The Escalante hydroponics greenhouse is the only garden within Durango School District 9-R that is used year-round as a result of it being indoors, although other schools, such as Needham and Riverview elementary, tend to their own community gardens in the spring through fall.

Boren said her greenhouse class teaches students about safe food preparation as well as aspects of hydroponic growing such as balancing pH levels to grow the ideal cultivar.

“They know about the pH in the tank,” Boren said. “They know where the pH needs to be so that the lettuce grows well. The electrical conductivity, they know that that has to do with the fertilizer and how it affects the pH.”

Boren said the hydroponic area contains 360 quarts of lettuce and that the 10 pounds of the lettuce harvested Thursday amounts to about a quarter of the stock.

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