Fresh lettuce in winter? Yes, this is exactly what you will see at Monroe Elementary School in Manitowoc this year.
The idea to implement a grow tower garden in Mrs. Lallensack’s first grade classroom originated from Riverview Early Learning Center and the UW Extension FoodWise team, partnered with Grow It Forward, Inc., and Monroe Elementary School. This hydroponic growing system uses only water to grow plants indoors, no soil required. The first grade students have planted lettuce, spinach, kale, chard and basil. They are eagerly watching their plants grow and are excited to harvest in the next couple of weeks.
Students are learning about the importance of healthy eating and how plants grow. They have been measuring how tall the plants are, checking the pH balance of the water and illustrating their observations. Once the plants are ready to be harvested, the first graders will enjoy fresh produce right in their classroom. Most of them will be trying new vegetables that they have never before tasted.
Having students included in the growing process increases the likelihood they will sample the produce — and they might even like it!
Great things are growing in Mrs. Lallensack’s classroom, and we can’t wait to harvest and taste!
Kaila Stencil is a member of Healthiest Manitowoc County’s Investing Early Coalition.
Originally published by the Herald Times Reporter on 12/10/2019