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4 Roots partnership benefits students, community
Posted on 11/12/2018

Healthy eating, sustainability and farm-to-table are the buzzwords of modern-day agriculture. Today’s Ag programs incorporate science, technology, engineering and math to create their gardens and greenhouses.

At Ocoee High School, AgriScience students learn how to evaluate and improve soil conditions, properly plant seeds, monitor growth and cultivate vegetables in their greenhouse. They are currently growing cucumbers and bibb lettuce using hydroponics. After harvesting, they send the produce to the school’s Food and Nutrition Services for sanitation, packaging and distribution to the students.

On Nov. 6, Ocoee hosted 15 middle school students from Lake Como School to teach them how to take the skills they learned to start a school garden and expound upon them. The Ocoee students taught the middle schoolers how to identify when produce is ready to cultivate.

An Orange Technical College, University of Florida Extension and 4R Foundation partnership provides the vocational agriculture students with hands-on learning in the greenhouse. The partners, along with the Kate and Justin Rose Foundation, sponsored the field trip to showcase Ocoee’s successful program. John Rivers, 4 Rivers owner, spoke about the importance for growing food in one’s own community versus purchasing from across the United States.

To their pleasure, all participants ate cucumbers grown, harvested, cleaned and prepped on site. The common comment heard was, “they’re so fresh.”