Family and Consumer Science virtual field trip
Seventh graders peered into a different kind of farm—one housed in a repurposed banana shipping container—and discovered greens growing in water with LED light instead of sun.
This eye-opening experience took place through Family and Consumer Science class's virtual field trip to High Ridge Hydroponics in Norwalk, CT. It was part of an inquiry-based unit exploring the connections between food, wellness, community and sustainability.
Prior to the field trip, students were asked by teacher Melissa Brady to shape a question about something they were curious about. “How can food be grown sustainably,” wondered the students. “How can a community provide food for people who need it?”
learning something new
The visionary behind High Ridge, Joe Alvarez, led the tour, showing students how hydroponics used less water and, because it didn’t require farmland, could grow fresh vegetables in an urban neighborhood. He led the class to consider the challenges of living in an area in which grocery stores didn’t sell healthy food –or any that they could afford.
In the works, Alvarez shared, was building an indoor, vertical, hydroponic, shipping container farm in Bridgeport's East End to combat food inequality there.
“I liked how High Ridge partners with different markets / businesses to ship their harvests to different places. This relates to my inquiry question ‘what happens when a community runs out of food,’” reflected Anya, one of the students in the class.
“I learned that it’s possible to farm without soil, and I also learned what micro greens are. I think it’s really cool how Joe is so obviously passionate about what he does, and because of that, he does something about it. It is better for the environment and it’s in an area that really needs that kind of thing,” noted Sydney.
A class full of researchers
students will present what they’ve learned
The learning doesn’t stop there.
Not only is John Jay High School's engineering class designing a hydroponics system for the middle school's Family and Consumer Science program, in the third trimester the students will share what they’ve learned with others.
“They can choose to create a podcast, a TED style talk, a children’s book, a movie, a social media campaign, a school lunch proposal or something completely different,” said Brady. “Stay tuned!