JCC runs a free hydroponics program for high school students in Lowville | training
LOWVILLE – While many gardeners hang up their tools for the winter season and wait for a time to take them out and work outdoors, Jefferson Community College is preparing to offer a farming program to high school students in Jefferson and Lewis counties.
The college’s youth hydroponics, nutrition and advocacy program takes place on Saturdays, January 15 through February 26, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the JCC’s Lewis County Education Center at 7395 East Road, Lowville.
The free six-week workshop is open to students in grades 9 through 12 and is led by Julian R. Mangano, a vegetable gardener, local food systems advocate, and technical specialist for the education center.
“In our current era, we see an aging farming population where the average age of a farmer is 58 years – four to seven years away from retirement,” said Mangano. “To maintain the integrity of our food systems, we need to encourage young people to consider farming as a career option, and we need to introduce the newer forms of farming engagement to potentially break stereotypes.” and what the nature of all work is to be able to produce food. “
The hands-on HNA youth program will teach students how to grow plants using hydroponics. The program’s themes include farming in a controlled environment, hydroponics, growing conditions, nutrition and health, and advocating access to quality food. The program includes both lectures and experiential learning.
Aside from discussing production systems related to agriculture with a controlled environment, the program will also focus on nutrition and how a person can have a balanced diet and reduce waste in the consumption process through the use of different parts of the plant.
The program will also advocate food justice and food justice, with students being introduced to topics related to food deserts.
“While it’s not a traditional thought that a farmed rural area can be a food desert, there are food deserts up here,” said Mr. Mangano. “Bringing this awareness to students and what they can do about lobbying to try to provide more nutritious, healthier food for them and the people in their communities is something we are aiming for in the program such as.”
The kits students receive contain a Kratky hydroponics system that uses a container – a glass – filled with water. Students will fill their jars with water and nutrients, and the roots of the plants will grow and ingest them. The kits also include an earth-based grow in a jar as well as a hydroponic based microgreens grow in a food container for the preparation of meals.
The program takes place at the center in a freight farm owned by a Massachusetts company that retrofits shipping containers with vertical hydroponic systems.
The HNA Youth Program is made possible by the Northern Border Regional Commission through a grant from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
“If you look at global trends, controlled environment agriculture is gaining popularity not only because of the use of novel agricultural technologies, but also because of the changing elements of the climate that we are dealing with,” said Mangano. “So if you can grow in an environment where conditions can be better controlled, more nutrient-rich, large plants can thrive … This gives the farmer the opportunity to take control of his production.”
In order to participate in the program, students must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or proof of exemption. Registration closes on January 7th. For more information and registration, visit www.sunyjefferson.edu or call the JCC Workforce Development Office at 315-786-2233.
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