US (NY): School grows own lettuce for lunches

Farm-to-table programs are becoming more abundant across the north country, and Edwards-Knox Central School has been able to supply its students with fresh lettuce every week. “Using the lettuce, it really teaches the younger generations how to grow,” said Beau Bidwell, a senior at Edwards-Knox.

During the majority of his study hall hours, he tends to the school’s hydroponics farm, growing lettuce for school lunches. Agriculture teacher Michael Gault started the farm with a grant secured by former state Senator Pattie Ritchie.

“It’s kind of nice. They see it there, and they eat it, and sometimes we will actually just distribute heads of lettuce out to the kids and say, ‘Here, take a head home and make a salad and let your parents know what it tastes like,’ and they all like it,” said Gault.

It takes six weeks to grow a single head of lettuce in the hydroponics system and is on a cycle where lettuce can be harvested every week. During the week, Edwards-Knox produces about 27 heads of lettuce for its school lunch program. Bidwell says he hopes more students get into the program after he graduates.


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