Hydroponic lettuce harvest = fresh, local salads for four schools

Arthur and Matt carefully bag lettuce

Arthur and Matt carefully bag lettuce

G.E.T. (Growing Education Training) students harvested 150 heads of beautiful mixed lettuces – the first of a continuous stream of weekly harvests from their amazing NFT table. Wearing gloves and hairnets, students carefully trimmed the root ball of each head before gently wrapping it and sending it on its way to the cooler. From there, the lettuce was transported to four schools – Duval, Metcalfe, and Lake Forest Elementary schools, and Loften High – for inclusion in their school lunch.

Willard with the first lettuce harvest

Willard with the first lettuce harvest

on its way to the kitchen

on its way to the kitchen

This harvest was the culmination of hard work and a lot of learning on everyone’s part – from following written and oral instructions to set up the complicated system, to mixing the nutrient solution, to checking and recording pH levels daily, to monitoring plant growth and trouble-shooting a nutrient deficiency. The students were there at every stage of the life of a lettuce plant, truly a “seed to plate” experience for them.  They were thrilled to share the process with some of the kitchen staff who will be serving it to students this week.

Kitchen staff and district dietitian visit the greenhouse during harvest

Kitchen staff and district dietitian visit the greenhouse during harvest

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