Fleming County High School becomes the eleventh school to receive a high-tech farm classroom through the AppHarvest Foundation program, giving students hands-on experience growing salad greens and other vegetables
MOREHEAD, Ky., Oct. 7, 2022 — The AppHarvest Foundation, working to help grow the next generation of Farmers + Futurists by teaching entrepreneurship and high-tech agriculture by introducing high school students to controlled environment agriculture (CEA) across Central Appalachia, today announced expansion of its AgTech Education Program with a hydroponic farm classroom at Fleming County High school in Flemingsburg, Ky.
The AppHarvest Foundation AgTech Education Program provides schools with shipping containers retrofitted with high-tech equipment to serve as hands-on agricultural classrooms where students hydroponically grow vegetables such as salad greens to distribute to their classmates and those in need in their communities.
Maysville Community and Technical College (MCTC), a two-year degree institution serving communities in northeastern Kentucky, is supporting the Fleming County High School farm classroom through a Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities grant.
“The STEM-based curriculum in the AgTech Education Program coupled with the hands-on learning in the hydroponic classroom introduces students to cutting-edge, sustainable agricultural practices and continues to build on the rich history of agriculture in Kentucky,” said MCTC Director of Workforce and Economic Development Lenora Kinney.
“Fleming County High School is the eleventh school to receive a high-tech classroom and the third we’ve launched in partnership with MCTC in Eastern Kentucky,” said AppHarvest Foundation Director and AppHarvest Vice President of Community Outreach Amy Samples. “Many of the student farmers at Fleming County High School today will be growing the food for tomorrow and applying the skills they are learning in these farm classrooms to sustainably grow fruits, vegetables and other crops in a way that is better for people and planet.”
Since 2018, the AppHarvest Foundation has launched AgTech classrooms at Carter G. Woodson Academy in Lexington; Madison Southern High School in Berea; Madison Central High School in Richmond; Breathitt High School in Jackson; Shelby Valley High School in Pikeville; Floyd County School of Innovation in Martin; Elliott County High School in Sandy Hook; Menifee County High School in Frenchburg; Johnson Central High School in Paintsville; and Rowan County Senior High School in Morehead.
The Fleming County High School AgTech classroom is the program’s eleventh to date, with a goal to launch one more by year end.
Fleming County High School agricultural education instructor Lucinda Pease will lead the new farm classroom and AgTech curriculum focused on topics such as high-tech hydroponic growing, supply chain and food production analysis, and an introduction to local food systems.
“The hydroponic farm provides students a real life, hands-on farming experience that supplements their traditional ag classes,” said Pease. “They will learn about farming as a modern business that runs the gamut from planting and growing to marketing and selling to eating the produce supplies to the school cafeteria.”
Student farmers can cultivate up to 5,000 plants at a time using a hydroponic growing system with efficient LED lights and a closed-loop irrigation system that is designed to use up to 90% less water than open-field agriculture without agricultural runoff.
AppHarvest’s 60-acre high-tech indoor farm in Morehead produces sustainably grown tomatoes. Three more AppHarvest facilities – the 15-acre Berea, Ky., leafy green facility, the 60-acre Richmond, Ky., tomato facility and a 30-acre Somerset, Ky., berry facility – are all expected to be operational by the end of 2022.
About AppHarvest Foundation
The AppHarvest Foundation, a charitable fund supported by AppHarvest, is committed to growing the next generation of Farmers + Futurists by providing hands-on Ag Tech educational opportunities teaching entrepreneurship and controlled environment agriculture through a STEM-based curriculum. The program inspires youth and adults to learn more about opportunities in one of the fastest growing industries by introducing AgTech education to them. For more information, visit www.appharvestfoundation.org.
About Maysville Community & Technical College
Maysville Community and Technical College is a two-year college that has been serving the region since 1968. As part of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, MCTC provides education and training close to where people live and work. To learn more about the programs of study at MCTC, visit www.maysville.kctcs.edu.