Students at Bark-River Harris High School collected their first harvest from their classroom’s Flex Farm.

A Flex Farm is an indoor mobile hydroponic farm from the Fork Farms Foundation. This hydroponic farm is meant to increase food security while also serving as an educational tool for students. It can grow lettuce, greens, herbs, and a variety of other foods on-site year-round.

“This whole area, this whole U.P. region, is esteemed a food desert, meaning that the nearest grocery store for enough of a percentage of the population is 30 miles or more away,” said Dr. Kim Smith Kolasa, associate vice president of partnership development at Fork Farms. “I know where I live in Republic, the nearest grocery store is at least 40 miles away, and then pair that with the fact that we have a really short outdoor growing season. And so, it’s considered a fairly high food insecure region. And so, by bringing indoor agriculture into the schools, and allowing the students the opportunity to grow some of their own fresh food and consume it is a really direct way to address food insecurity and give them access to fresh food that is highly nutritious.”

Mr. Botwright, the school’s science teacher, says there are many benefits to using a hydroponic farm in the classroom.