Bridgeton High School Opens Greenhouse and Hydroponic Farm

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Bridgeton High School students are making an impact on their community by showing their passion for agriculture. 

According to sources, Cumberland County has been ranked the unhealthiest county in New Jersey multiple times.

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But Bridgeton Public Schools, with the help of community members and sponsors, are working toward a positive change with their brand new greenhouse and hydroponic farm, giving students a hands-on learning environment.

“More and more schools are embracing this as part of the curriculum that already takes places in schools where students are in a school garden, but it’s tying into their social studies class or they're in a science class and it’s tying into their STEM education," said USDA Farm to School representative, Beth Feehan.

And it’s hands-on experiential learning, that everybody benefits from because you get a child to grow a green bean and they’re more likely to eat it. You draw a picture of a green bean and tell a child that it’s healthy for them and they’re not gonna really care.”

Students agree. 

“Kids, they don’t really care about it unless they can be actually involved with it," said Junior at Bridgeton High School Yasmine Hunter. "So them getting involved helps them understand it more."

During the morning of Wednesday, June 13th, a ribbon cutting for the greenhouse was held and in attendance were many key players in getting this outdoor classroom up and running.

One being CEO of the multinational corporation and produce giant, Procacci Brothers, Joseph M. Procacci. 

“I think that we need to engage the community to come into this business and to create opportunities for them," said Procacci.

Director of Food Services at Bridgeton Public Schools, Warren DeShields, spoke about his high hopes for this greenhouse and what it will do for the community.

“It’s one thing to have things given to you, but it’s another thing for the kids to be able to grow their own and see how sustainable things can be," said DeShields. 

The greenhouse will not only be for students to learn more about agriculture, but it will also act as a community garden.

“To be able to have parents come and if they don’t have enough fruits and vegetables, they know they can come to the high school and will have it available once that eight week period is grown," said DeShields.

"We’ll make announcements that this is what we’re giving away today and they can come get it."

Starting this fall, the greenhouse and hydroponic farm will be fully integrated into the high school's science and nutrition curriculum.

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