US (KS): Fresh learning experience for students at elementary school

Second graders at Jefferson Elementary School enjoyed a fresh learning experience on Jan. 21, as they sampled salads that included lettuce varieties harvested from the school’s aeroponic Tower Garden.

The vertical and compact indoor garden uses a plant-cultivation technique that requires no soil, utilizes LED indoor grow lights, and delivers a special blend of nutrients via a pump and tubing to evenly water the exposed plant roots. The seeds were planted in late November and by mid-January, the lettuce was ready for harvest.

“The Tower Garden weaves into our plant and insect unit that we will study in the spring,” said Jefferson's second-grade teacher Dawn Donahue who, with the second-grade team and their students, enjoyed the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor.

The Jefferson PTO purchased the Tower Garden for the school in the fall of 2018, with students in all grades given the opportunity to cultivate a soil-less crop.

“The students love watching the vegetables grow in the Tower Garden. They learn the entire process from seed germination to harvesting,” said Jefferson Principal Dr. Susie Hung. “It inspires students who typically may not eat vegetables to try various types during the salad tasting. Some students go home telling their parents they actually like salad afterward.”

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