Growing for tomorrow

Students work to grow garden for the community.

As junior Brandon Miller went out to the greenhouse to check his growing tomato plants, the hydroponics system, that he and his classmates made, was doing its job. The water is filtered through the numerous pipes that lead straight into the tomato plants, and then the water is sent straight to another plant, continuing the cycle.

“We just thought it would be fun to do a hydroponics system,” said Miller.

The plant sciences classes at Har-Ber have been tinkering with hydroponics systems as of late, to help students get hands-on experience with modern solutions to world problems.

“Our hope is to increase student engagement by giving them access to these technologies and learning the skills required to operate them,” said agricultural science teacher Jonathan Roberts.

The students and teachers have big dreams for the systems, including that of giving back to the community.

“Eventually we hope to produce enough food to donate to a food bank type program,” said Mr. Roberts.

One student, Hannah Callicott, even got selected to represent Arkansas at the World Food Prize through the Global Youth Institute. Callicott was able to attend the awards ceremony in which individuals who have improved the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world receive an award.

“I was always interested in hydroponics, and so I cultivated this essay about sea-water hydroponics. About a distillation plant that can take out the salt and then have just fresh water for people to consume,” said Callicott.

The connections that Callicott made at the awards ceremony will help her in the long run, which is the main goal of the hydroponics systems at Har-Ber.

“Hopefully students who gain research experience in high school,” said Mr. Roberts, “will be able to use that knowledge in college or their career.”