VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - Agriculture is big industry here in Mississippi.
Warren Central High School and Vicksburg High School are helping produce the generation of farmers and master gardeners with a hydroponics and aquaponics programs.
“Here we have mustard greens, salad lettuce and peppers and green butter lettuce,” said a Vicksburg High student.
Along with reading writing and arithmetic, growing vegetables is also on today’s lesson plan for students at Vicksburg High School.
“This is the Aquaponics class. What we do is we grow plants without soil and sunlight. We also grow fish at the same time. For example, this is collard greens. Instead of using soil herbicides and pesticides we use fish waste to fertilize the plants and it comes out as a cleaner, more organic vegetable,” said Vicksburg High Student Zachary Moore.
Over at Warren Central High, they are also growing cleaner produce with a twist in this Hydroponics Lab.
“We just feed the plants directly by water being applied to their roots and no soil. The water is specifically treated with organic chemicals that the plants need range from potassium to nitrogen based,” said Warren Center High Teacher Steve Summer.
While both schools are using a different method to grow vegetables, they say the benefits are the same.
“If you want to take produce off our cafeteria’s ordering inventory. We want to harvest products from here and serve them right across the hall. Already this year, after we got the garden going, there were two different recalls on lettuce for E. Coli, but our cafeteria was well stocked with lettuce. They had to send everything back that was outsourced, but we just replaced it with the produce we have here,” said Summer.
Also, these students say are learning the agricultural field has lots to offer.
“I learned how to appreciate farmers better because of the process growing these plants takes a tremendous amount of effort and time,” said Moore.
“Everything here is organic and natural, so instead of going to the grocery store you can grow it all at home,” said Warren Central High Student Isaiah Kirkley.