GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Future of farming hidden inside Southwest HS classroom

Local News

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — It’s the 21st century of farming — and it’s being done inside a classroom at Southwest High School in Green Bay.

“For us, it’s all about connecting kids more deeply with food,” said Alex Tyink, CEO of Fork Farms, which donated hydroponics pods as part of a massive grant.

“What we have seen time and time again is that if kids grow food they are more than likely to want to eat that food. And when they’re learning about it, they’re able to talk about it,” Tyink said.

Students are also growing a lot more than lettuce, even though that’s the main crop right now.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said senior Elise Williams. “We’ve learned so much and we’re surprised how fast it’s growing.”

Fork Farms has a similar partnership with more than 300 schools across the country.

The goal is pretty simple. Think of it like a farm-to-table approach. The school’s goal is to grow about 30 pounds of food, per pod, every month. There are six total pods currently being used.

“What we get out of the harvest will go to the cafeteria and feeding the school,” Senior Maddie Marchant told Local 5’s Barrett Tryon.

It is that hands-on learning that cannot be replicated by a textbook.

“It’s just a matter of trial and error,” said Agroscience teacher Tom Sedranek. “The kids pick, I give them a bunch of things of what we’re gonna do and it’s up to them.”

Tyink says the school benefits, by helping increase the nutritional quality of the food in the lunch program. It also leads to other sorts of outcomes, while also helping kids learn how to eat better at a young age.

“It was way different than store bought. It was really fresh,” Williams added.

The good news? It’s a relatively simple task to keep the plants growing and providing. Tyink says it takes about 10 minutes a week to produce the results the school is looking for.

You can learn more about Fork Farms on its website.

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