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CTE program receives grant for tower gardens

Avery Redfern

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Students of the Food Safety and Nutrition class are embracing the future of growing food. Led by teacher Jordan Strayhorn, the students take care of the tower garden: an over-six-foot tall self-maintaining garden. Strayhorn got the tower garden earlier this year when she was awarded the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation (FPEF) grant. The garden- which has its own light, watering system, and timer- is a great learning experience for the students, Strayhorn says.

“[The students] are tending to this, and seeing it grow, so when it’s time to eat it, they’ll be open-minded and be excited about it,” she commented, “when students are more involved in the growing and the source of the food, they’re more likely to try something that they might have never tried before.”

The students also have to tend to the garden, doing things like checking the pH of the water and adding nutrients to the water. “It’s a great learning tool for the students,” says Strayhorn, “to actually see things grow- it really is kind of miraculous.”

Amelia Southern
Jordan Strayhorn got the tower garden earlier this year when she was awarded the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation grant. The Tower Garden is a tower full of little plants it includes a timer, watering system and light.

 

The garden runs on a timer; every hour, the water will flow for 15 minutes. The lights turn on at night- to ensure that the plants get proper sunlight. The system can operate year-round, and might be the future of food growth.

“I think that the technology is going to get cheaper,” Strayhorn said, “and that it’ll get more accessible.” The garden allows people with little land or harsher conditions to grow their own food.

As the plants enter the end of their 50-60-day germination span, the Food Safety and Nutrition class is preparing recipes for a competition held at the end of the semester. Just before finals, the students will compete in a Top Chef-esque competition. Teams of students will make dishes from various plants and herbs in the tower garden- vegetables like kale, arugula and bok choy.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Strayhorn, “I think it’s good for students to see different options in gardening and to actually see things grow.”

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Amelia Southern, Photographer

"I am running away from responsibilities and it feels good" -Michael Scott (The Office)
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