Green Our Planet, a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Las Vegas encouraging school gardening, sustainability, and nutrition programs, is encouraging Title I schools across Nevada to apply for grant funding for its HydroConnect hydroponics systems by Nov. 23.

The funding, provided by a recent grant from the Engelstad Foundation, will give students an opportunity to develop hydroponics programs at their school sites. Teachers or administrators can encourage student bodies to grow plants. Green Our Planet’s nutrient-rich solution requires less than 80% water instead of traditional outdoor gardens rather than being planted directly in the soil.

Suzie Petronzi, education and engagement manager of Green Our Planet, said thanks to the support of Gov. Joe Lombardo and cosponsors of Senate Bill 341, a section of which designated $3 million to Green Our Planet for its school garden programs this past legislative session, the nonprofit was able to expand its programs in the state. The funding allows it to provide the first 50 schools that apply for the hydroponics programs to receive it at a cost of $2,000. They originally had been priced at $10,000.

“The big piece is we want to make sure we have full support for teachers,” she said. “With this program, we understand how busy they are.” The next cohort begins in January, so after reviewing applications and acceptance, Green Our Planet can ship out the materials to help schools set up their program early in the spring semester, get their garden growing, and help students see their results before the end of the school year at an affordable cost. It also helps to tie in career and technical education aspects and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics components as students learn how to set up a garden and learn about hydroponics, she said.

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