Waunakee schools install hydroponic garden to grow food year-round

WAUNAKEE (WMTV) - As kids get ready to head back to school, teachers are preparing too, some starting the school year with new plans.

Plans of the new hydroponic garden.

For years, the Waunakee School District has grown plants in community and school gardens during harvest seasons. But this school year, the district is implementing a new way to grow plants all year long, using hydroponics.

“We kind of figured this is the best of both worlds. Because not only are we growing our own things in the school, but we're teaching the kids how to grow things essentially as well,” says Connie Vacho, Director of Food Services.

In just six weeks, the hydroponic garden will be filled with booming Romaine lettuce ready for harvest.

The hydroponic garden means plants can be grown all year long, as seeds are planted in water instead of soil.

“That's the biggest thing with Wisconsin, that you can't grow everything year round with our harsh winters. And that's the nice thing about hydroponics, because we don't have the harsh winters, we're not worried about rodents eating our stuff,” Vacho tells NBC15.

The garden will start the school year at the high school, but the director of food services says she hopes to eventually move it to the elementary schools. That way students can see the seedlings grow to plants, and eventually be used in their meals