Classroom Aquaponics Program
Since Fall of 2015 we have been installing Mini-Aquaponics systems in classrooms all over Fayette County. These super simple systems use a 10 gallon fish tank, with a connected mini float bed for the plants. Mini-systems show how amazingly scalable aquaponics is and allows teachers to build curriculum for the Nitrogen Cycle, Plant Life Cycles, Fish Life Cycles, Ecosystem Analysis, Water Quality and Testing, and much more with a living, interactive model for the kids to test and manipulate. They get a complete ecosystem right in their classroom! there are now mini systems in 22 elementary and middle schools in Fayette County impacting over 10,000 kids’ education everyday!
In addition to the mini systems, FoodChain also works with Tates Creek High School, STEAM Academy and Bryan Station Middle School to build, install, and run the barrelponics system we developed. This system really allows students to explore all the possibilities of using aquaponics for food production.
Now we are looking to transition this program into a workshop model, teaching educators and other enthusiasts how to build and maintain their own systems! Watch our calendar and emails for dates of our first pilot workshop of the Mini-Aquaponics system this July.
Farm to School
FoodChain is deeply involved in the Fayette County Farm to School Program, to bring more fresh local foods into Central Kentucky’s public schools. In conjunction with bringing local, fresh food into schools, the Farm to School Program also works to provide corresponding education surrounding the Environmental, Human Health, and Economic Benefits of purchasing and consuming local food. The program is run by an advisory council comprised of representatives from local government, the local health department, school administrators, the local farmer’s market and a wide variety of non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses.
This summer the Farm to School Program will be partnering closely with Lexington Farmer’s Market to provide youth engagement and education activities to the Saturday market through the national Power of Produce Club (link with https://farmersmarketcoalition.org/programs/power-of-produce-pop/). Here we will promote youth purchasing power through $2 weekly vouchers for local produce. This will be coupled with weekly produce tastings and engaging activities around agriculture and nutrition.
Our educational programming isn’t just in classrooms, though. A lot of our outreach involves bringing students to tour our farm, where they can experience commercial scale aquaponic food production, learn all about FoodChain’s history, vision, and plans for the future, as well as our breeding program and fish feed that we produce from West Sixth Brewing’s (include link) spent grains! We host public and private tours for school groups of all ages and other organizations like 4H and gardening clubs. These educational tours are tailored to suit the age and interest of each group to get them excited to go home and explore on their own! (If you are a school interested in any of these things this page is for you!)