SAN ANTONIO – Agriculture, healthy eating and sustainability.
Students at IDEA Eastside in San Antonio are learning those life lessons in the classroom and on the campus farm.
IDEA Eastside leaders say the lessons are about growth and nutrition but also a chance to assist with social-emotional development.
“I like how healthy and green the farm looks,” Genesis Ake, a 7th grader at IDEA Eastside, said.
Genesis is one of the many students passionate about growing her own food.
“Instead of them sitting in a classroom, learning about how plants work on paper, how food works, they’re actually able to see it happen in real-time,” Brandon Cawthon, the campus farm tech manager, said.
Once the produce is grown here on the land or in the leafy green machine, it goes to the cafeteria.
“Getting them interested into why farming is important and why nutrition is really important, and having this tool here that we have at this campus is really invaluable in order to do that,” Cawthon said.
The leafy green machine is an indoor hydroponic system with so much produce being grown. They have cabbage, lettuce and strawberries that are delicious.
“IDEA Eastside is located around (an area) where a lot of the food around us is heavily processed or not extremely nutritious. And if you’re growing up in that environment and you’re not able to see what else is out there, it’s just what you assume is the norm,” Cawthon said. “So this program is sort of that first opening of the gates and exposing these students to eat better, high quality, more nutritious food.”
These students are growing everything from flowers to tomatoes – even turnips.
“It’s just utter excitement. That’s pretty much what it is. They are amazed by how it works,” Cawthon said.
As for Genesis, she is excited and is learning a lot.
“Really take care of your resources and take care of the planet,” she said.