William Peace University is teaming up with Produce Purpose, a nonprofit organization, to install a hydroponic farming operation on campus. The new program aims to provide purposeful employment for individuals with special needs, promote sustainable and pesticide-free agriculture, and encourage healthy eating habits at the university.
Matthew Harvey, founder of Produce Purpose, said the program, inspired by his brother, is not only to promote interactive learning but to address a real problem happening among young people.
"The age demographic between the ages of 18 and 29 is seeing the most weight gain in a person's lifetime," Harvey pointed out. "The freshman 15 slogan holds more truth than people really want to admit."
To bring the hydroponic farming operation to life on campus, Produce Purpose will also be partnering with Freight Farms, a hydroponic technology company based in Boston. Plans for the fully automated hydroponic farm are already underway, and the first crop is set to become available for harvest this fall.
The collaboration goes beyond merely providing fresh produce to students; it also creates multidisciplinary educational opportunities for them. Harvey highlighted the program will be accessible to students studying subjects such as biology, interactive design, psychology, and special education.
"For example, if you are a physics student and you want to learn more about how different colored light waves can affect the growth of plants, you can see that in the red and blue light wave tech that the container farm has developed and perfected," Harvey explained. Harvey added the program will hire about three special-needs farmers.
Source: Public News Service