The Martha Holden Jennings Foundation has approved a $3,000 grant proposal submitted by Westerville North High School which will allow students and staff to investigate several different types of agricultural practices, including aquaponics, hydroponics, and more raised bed gardens.
The “big ticket” item in the grant is a 300-gallon aquarium that will support a 4 x 8 garden system. Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics where both the fish and plants are grown in one integrated system. The water inside the aquarium provides all of the nutrients for the growing plants, and the plants effectively clean the aquarium water by absorbing the fish waste.
First-year Westerville North science teacher Anthony Forrest will be leading this exciting large-scale aquaponics project for the school.
The other components of the grant include the expansion of the hydroponic strawberries project and the raised bed gardens. North will continue its partnership with Amy Brill's special education students as it seeks to grow enough carrots to meet the needs of the school cafeteria next year.
“I could not be more excited about the potential impact of this grant on our school,” said Science teacher Jeff Bracken. “What a happy day!”