The benefits of hydroponic gardens in schools
3-minute read | By Chris Hagedorn, General Manager of Hawthorne Gardening Company, North America’s largest distributor of indoor growing & hydroponic products
When I was a kid, I was a sponge for knowledge. I loved discovering new things, especially when it meant I got to roll up my sleeves and learn by doing. Because of this, I am a huge advocate for gardening in schools. What better way to learn about science, botany and nutrition than through growing your own fruits and vegetables?
More recently, the introduction of hydroponic gardening––which enables plants to grow inside, faster and without soil––into school kids curriculum has been an absolute game changer. At Hawthorne, we believe introducing students to this unique and captivating way to grow is critical. More importantly, we recognize the benefits of hydroponics go beyond education and give children year-round access to fresh produce.
That is why, as part of our GroMoreGood commitment to connect 10 million kids to gardening and outdoor play, we partnered with the National Farm to School Network, the leading voice for the U.S. farm-to-school and education movement. Together, we integrated hydroponic technology into classrooms at 15 schools in New York, Washington D.C. and California during the 2019–2020 school year. Our Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation also partners with No Kid Hungry, a national campaign working to end childhood hunger in the U.S. Through this partnership, we plan to provide 20 schools per year with indoor growing systems. Last year, through these two partnerships, we were able to connect more than 14,700 kids to the benefits of hydroponic growing.
Through the introduction of hydroponics in schools, we hope that kids will gain:
- A hands-on understanding of the science and innovation involved in hydroponic gardening.
- An expanded knowledge about nutrition, which might lead to new career paths and a healthier future.
- Increased access to fresh produce year round, as hydroponic gardening can happen inside any school room without the need for sunlight or soil.
- A deeper understanding of the positive ways they can impact their community. For example, creating opportunities for students to do good by bringing nutritional options to area food pantries and food deserts.
Growing up, I developed a deep passion for the gardening world. Through the wonders of hydroponics, my hope is that students today can grow that same love for gardening and learn that good, like those fruits and vegetables, can truly grow anywhere.