Students in Wasco County face challenges with limited incomes and food insecurity. Students need exposure to horticulture and a healthy diet infused with fruits and vegetables. However, due to limited school budgets, horticulture education is not funded.
With its deep reach in community agriculture, Wasco 4-H sought to develop a horticulture program that could be taught during the school year. A 4-H staff member created a Greenhouses for Good project that incorporates engineering, horticulture education, community service and service leadership. The students research, design, and build a hydroponics food-growing system. The produce grown is then given to local food banks.
The project has been transformational for the 15 students and four adults involved. In many ways, the project serves as a model for the growth in students. Using the ancient method of farming in a totally new way, they are engineering a new solution to a historic problem: How do we feed a large population with minimal land and water resources? The first wave of produce was harvested and distributed in December, 2018. Overall the project will impact 75 youth through Science Foundations and Garden Club programs. The partnership is an excellent example of how 4-H can support positive youth development and STEM programming in schools. The kids involved in this project have shown creativity, diligence, and enthusiasm.