CHS Larsen Cooperative supports Flex Farm Food Towers Initiative

Left to Right: Lisa Busse, CHS Agronomist, Steve Bartel, CHS Board Chairman, Tim Baehnman, CHS Service Technician and Weyauwega School Board Member, Drew Niehans, District Business Manager, Phillip Tubbs, District Administrator, Jodi Alix, Weyauwega-Fremont High School Principal, and Sandra Dykes, Agriscience teacher/FFA Advisor.

(September 16, 2019) – CHS Larsen Cooperative announced today a $5,000 grant to Weyauwega-Fremont High School. The funds will support the Weyauwega-Fremont Agriscience Department to purchase grow towers. The grow towers will be located in the ag department. Students from Agriscience classes will be involved in planting, monitoring and harvesting of lettuce and other vegetables. Once harvested the product will be given to the school lunch program.

“We’re proud to support this project to strengthen the community and see it thrive,” says Anne Moore, Marketing Communications Specialist, CHS Larsen Cooperative, “Projects like this are essential to enriching our rural area and the people who live here.” 

During the 2019-20 school year, the agriculture courses in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District plans to implement the use of the tower gardens to provide a minimum of 75 pounds per month of leafy vegetables to the food service program. They also plan to use these towers to make students more aware of opportunities in agriculture. Tower Garden, a vertical, aeroponic growing system, allows you to grow up to 20 vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in less than three square feet—indoors or out. Which makes them the perfect companion in your journey toward healthy living.

Weyauwega-Fremont wants to create a program that will allow students to not only apply all the math, science, and technology knowledge they learned in the classroom, but to also increase their love for those subjects so that they can pursue career paths in their interest areas. Agriscience classes that will have the opportunity to grow food for the school lunch program includes Horticulture, Aquaculture, Intro to Ag and all middle school ag classes. Their intent is to demonstrate to students that their learning is not compartmentalized, but rather spread across all areas of their lives. The math, science and language skills they learn will be used in all environments, whether they are simply cooking dinner or if they are out working on the job site. The other long-term impact they hope to grow is the partnership with community members and the school district. 

The school district would like to not only have this aeroponic component added, but also have plans for future expansions to this program. Their curriculum outcome and long-term impact goal is the hope that these memorable experiences will spark the interest and the drive students need to find that purpose for their learning and for our students to take ownership of their learning process and see how their knowledge will be the greatest asset they have for future success.

Funds were contributed by CHS Larsen Cooperative and were matched dollar for dollar by a CHS Seeds for Stewardship grant, which helps cooperatives grow their impact locally. Together more than $5,000 will benefit Weyauwega-Fremont School. 

“Cooperatives were founded on the principles of education, community involvement and cooperation,” says Wade Blowers, Interim General Manager, CHS Larsen Cooperative. “By combining resources, we are providing double the impact to our area and demonstrating the cooperative spirit.” 

Sandra Dykes, the Agriculture instructor at Weyauwega-Fremont says, “these towers allow our school to provide many more opportunities for our students as well as teach them how to grow their own food”.

To learn more about other ways CHS Larsen Cooperative gives back, click here.

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