Fall River Catholic school students to serve up salads through hydroponics
FALL RIVER, Mass., (WJAR) — In bins at Fall River’s Holy Trinity School, you’ll see lush, leafy greens.
“We’re doing a project for Johnson & Wales,” student Caroline Sullivan explained.
But it’s not your average garden.
“They’re thinking outside the box,” principal Brenda Gagnon said. “Now I have children from preschool through eighth grade learning how to sustain their life.”
There isn’t any soil underneath the lettuce.
“We have these lights, which is kind of like the sunlight that we bring in,” Sullivan said. “We have tubes going in through the water inside. ”
It’s called hydroponics: growing plants in a solution of water and nutrients.
“I really like doing STEM,” Sullivan said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
Students are growing Boston Bibb and iceberg lettuce.
“One thing we really want to do is make recipes at the molecular level by changing different flavors of different plants, by just adjusting their ECs (electrical conductivity) and the pH levels,” Chief Technology Officer Kevin Flynn said.
Flynn said the project was also made possible through the help of Gotham Greens in Providence.
Last year, students grew kale, which staff members used to make delicious kale soup.
“It’s going to be eaten in school,” Flynn said of the lettuce this year. “A lot of the eighth graders are talking about salad days.”
Johnson and Wales professor Michael Budziszek, who goes by Dr. Bud, is working with several schools across the region.
“A lot of urban areas are food deserts so we’re trying to find a way to get food in there,” he said. “Some of my college students haven’t seen brussels sprouts or kale, first time, and don’t know how nutritionally dense it is for them.”
Healthy body, healthy mind, Dr. Bud said. These kids are the future.
“Going to space, they’re going to bring food with them and we can’t bring soil with us, so we’ll bring this,” he said. “So, they’ll find space in the future job market.”
The goal: cultivate a class of students rich in knowledge and nutrients.