Growing crops just got a whole lot easier for Holy Cross School in Champaign after a family’s donation gained them a second aquaponics tower.
The towers allow students to grow food inside before taking it home to eat. The first aquaponics tower, which the school got last year, was a trial to solve problems while encouraging other schools to adopt the same method.
“You know, when I heard about it, I thought, this is so exciting because it’s important that the children in grade school are exposed to science,” said Janice Bahr, University of Illinois faculty member. “We need scientists, but that interest needs to be nurtured, developed in grade school.”
School officials say it’s the only vertical aquaponics tower in the state. Students like Zora Unger have been using the towers by growing food every day for school lunches.
“Instead of like trucks, like bringing the food to our school and using gas and polluting our earth, they don’t have to package it with plastic. It can just come straight from here to the kitchen,” Unger said.
But it doesn’t stop there. Students are also giving back to the community. It’s something they say is rewarding to be a part of, and something that helps others. “We give to those in need, such as the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen and other food banks in our local area,” said student McKenna Tucker.