PITTSBURG, Kans. — Students at one Southeast Kansas school are showing off their green thumbs today.
Today was the first harvest of produce from the school’s new shipping container farm.
Not only is this giving students a hands-on approach to their education, but it’s also providing a resource for the high school as a whole.
“It’s our farm to our table. It doesn’t get more local than on our premises here at PHS,” said Monica Smetana, PHS Kitchen Manager.
Today Pittsburg High School is seeing the fruits of their labor, or should we say vegetables.
“This is a converted shipping container that is used to grow produce,” said Aubry Ross, PHS Science Teacher.
Thanks to a partnership with Leafy Green Farms, this is allowing the students of PHS to get hands-on training for one of the latest advancements in agriculture, like the students in Aubry Ross’ botany class.
“We focus on plant science. We do a lot of home horticulture, so this is going to tie directly into that class,” said Ross.
The greens are then transported throughout the school, including Anthony Fischer’s Culinary program.
“You take the average bag of lettuce that comes in through production lines, it’s 14 to 21 days old before it even sees the customer. This, it’s hours old. Grown by the students. People have a bigger appreciation for stuff when they can follow it from seed all the way to their plate. Farm to table is a big trend right now, and this is taking farm to table to a whole new level,” said Fischer.
Eventually, the greens will come full circle, being grown by the students of Pittsburg, for the students of Pittsburg.
“We are actually growing this produce, mainly to supply our cafeteria with fresh, hyper-local, nutritiously dense food,” said Ross.
“It allows the children to taste different types and sorts of lettuces and herbs that we will serve daily at the salad bar,” said Smentana.
“So this container farm is just that, it’s technology partnered with traditional farming to create a product that’s usable everywhere,” said Fischer.
The school has several ideas in the works and Ross hopes this will eventually expand to the middle school as well.
But if anyone is really hoping to get a taste of the produce, they won’t have to wait too long. There are plans to start selling it at the Pittsburg Farmers Market in the coming months.