Bangor students learn about farming through hydroponics

Project shows students where their food comes from

This week marks National FFA week across the country, and students at Bangor High School are learning about farming in a unique way.

Back in December, students at Bangor began growing lettuce on what is called a hydroponics table.

On Wednesday, FFA students will begin harvesting that food.

This isn’t your typical way of farming.

“I had no clue,” said Dana Carlson, a sophomore at Bangor. “I didn’t even know that was possible.”

Students at Bangor are learning more about growing food with hydroponics.

“Growing plants without the use of soil. In water that has some kind of a nutrient solution,” said Rick Bierbrauer, Ag teacher at Bangor.

72 lettuce plants are growing on Styrofoam rafts. The whole process is called a float table.

Sophomore Myron Bock has been managing the project since the beginning.

“Keep track of which plants are doing what, and how each plant is doing individually,” said Bock.

While he’s is not sure if he’s going to become a farmer, he said the project has been a great learning experience.

“It was awesome seeing them start from little seeds, to fully mature plants,” said Bock.

Teachers are hoping to use this project to show students more about agriculture.

“When people think agriculture, they think farmers. The red barn. The white picket fence. The old guy with a beard with coveralls, and farming, when you get down to it, is just the production of food,” said Bierbrauer.

With the harvesting on these plants to begin very shortly, students are discovering a new meaning to farming.

“Especially in our society today, we’re so involved in electronics. I think actually learning about how our food is grown, and what it takes for farmers to grow food is very cool,” said Carlson.

“If they were to learn more, they could do this type of stuff themselves, and produce their own food,” said Bock.

FFA students will pick just a portion of the lettuce plant, leaving behind enough of the plant to harvest again over the next few months.

The project was also funded through a grant Cargill.

The harvested lettuce will be given to the school’s food service program, who will incorporate the lettuce into school meals.