Education and preparing the next generation of farmers is critical for establishing a sustainable AgTech ecosystem in Central Appalachia. In partnership with the Kentucky Department of Education, AppHarvest has developed an AgTech Education Program for high school students combining traditional agriculture classes with a STEM-based curriculum growing produce in high-tech hydroponic classrooms retrofitted from shipping containers. This program prepares students for jobs in modern agriculture by providing them the opportunity to grow their own food and learn about all stages of farming from planting to harvesting to marketing and selling their product in a hands-on, real-world environment.
The AppHarvest AgTech Education Program directly supports bringing cutting-edge agricultural practices into Kentucky classrooms and communities, providing learners a foothold into one of the fastest growing industries and creating hands-on learning for the local food system.
Carter G. Woodson Academy is the first installment of the AgTech Program at a metro-area high school. The farm classroom can grow up to 2,760 seedlings and 2,960 mature plants at a time through a nutrient film technique system, equivalent to yields from about 3-5 acres of open-field agriculture.
The Floyd County School of Innovation AgTech Program was fully funded with federal grant funds to create an agriculture education program and purchase the farm classroom. The container’s unique design uses cutting-edge LED lighting and a closed-loop irrigation system to allow students to grow more than traditional open-field agriculture.
The Madison Southern farm classroom was funded by leading financial services firm Cowen, Inc. Through the school curriculum, students are learning about a variety of topics including high-tech hydroponic growing, supply chain and food production analysis and an introduction to local food systems. The farm classroom is about fifteen minutes away from AppHarvest’s 15-acre salad greens facility in Berea, Ky.
The Menifee County High School farm classroom was funded by Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC), in collaboration with our foundation. The farm classroom is the AgTech program’s tenth to date and is about 25 miles away from AppHarvest’s flagship 60-acre high-tech indoor farm in Morehead, Ky.