Oak Cliff Students Use Vertical Farming Lesson To Help Community

Oak Cliff Students Use Vertical Farming Lesson To Help Community

Oak Cliff Students Use Vertical Farming Lesson To Help Community

Students from Zumwalt Middle School are learning aquaponics, due in part to Oak Cliff being a "food desert." Demond Fernandez reports.

Demond Fernandez, WFAA 9:16 PM. CDT April 21, 2016

DALLAS – Plants and students can make a winning combination. That is the case, at least, at Dallas Independent School District’s Sarah Zumwalt Middle School.

Students have been learning to grow foods from their classroom.

The students are harvesting mustard greens, kale and fruits using a unique tower garden system.

"We get to help the community out with fresh fruits and vegetables,” said eighth grader Kerrion Martin.

The students are have been learning about vertical farming. They are planting seeds and harvesting vegetables in a tower garden using an aquaponics system.

The class says the vertical farming project started with a provocative discussion and lesson. The students were looking into their Oak Cliff community being a food desert.

"Around here, we don't have a lot of healthy grocery stores,” Detaria Wilburn said. “We don't have a lot of healthy foods… We don't have places where they sell fresh foods, fresh fruits, vegetables."

Wilburn and her classmates are now becoming game changers with green thumbs. Tomatoes, sunflowers, peppers, and strawberries are becoming staples grown in the tower garden.

Alaric Overbey of Vertical Life Farms donated the tower garden to Zumwalt. The local entrepreneur says he saw an opportunity to help teach the teens farming skills and about healthy food options in an urban setting.

“We grew this right here in our school,” Wilburn said as she showed off a bag of fresh salad mix. “So, it’s pretty amazing.”

Each day, the students check on their plants. Every two weeks they are bagging salads for teachers to sample.

Students say the project is helping them change their own eating habits while helping others.

Copyright 2016 WFAA

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