School seeks community support to expand state-of-the-art growing system
(Courtesy of Next Frontier Academy)
John Hairston and The Next Frontier Academy have launched a project not typical in area schools.
The Ohio agriculture academy has 540 tiny plants sprouting in its innovative hydroponics system. With the help of students at the school, these sprouts will be ready to harvest as full-grown heads of lettuce in just one month.
The next frontier of plant production can be found in this small Akron school. Hairston’s vision to see a hydroponics laboratory within the school was born out of his desire to give the students a strong foundation. As jobs continue to leave this urban community, the school is preparing its students for successful careers in the agriculture industry.
“The rubber shops and industry has fallen by the wayside,” Hairston said, looking back on Akron’s past. “Twenty-two percent of the jobs in Ohio are in agriculture.”
In the coming month, the students at The Next Frontier Academy participating in the hydroponics program will plant new seeds, chart and analyze plant growth, and harvest hundreds of heads of lettuce.
The program is an opportunity for urban students to be exposed to the success that may be found in the agriculture industry. Students will learn how to operate the hydroponics unit, a 36-foot-long construction that circulates water and low-chemical fertilizer through plants without the need for soil. The unit can grow a variety of green plants, such as herbs, kale and spinach.
“Agriculture is our future,” Hairston said, adding he believes that as food production continues to rise, new, quicker growing techniques are needed.
The Next Frontier Academy is paving the future of agriculture with hydroponics growing.
This is only the start of what the school hopes to accomplish. The school plans to sell a portion of the produce grown at a student-run farmer’s market and donate the rest to the community.
In the coming months, The Next Frontier Academy plans to expand its hydroponics growing and begin other such projects. It is currently seeking support to help make these projects a reality
Here’s how you can help:
- Support the school at www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-next-frontier-academy
- Go to www.thenextfrontieracademy.org to learn more
- Follow the school: www.facebook.com/thenextfrontieracademy and www.twitter.com/nextfrontiera for updates
The Next Frontier Academy’s innovative instruction is taking students into the future.