GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. –
It’s been three years in the making… And now, all systems are go. The R-5 aquaponics system and garden are looking great. So great, in fact, students and staff say they are on track to start producing more than 200 pounds of produce a week.
R-5 High School uses the program as a hands on learning tool. Its fingerprints are all over the school’s curriculum. Biology and Science are obvious. But, the school is teaching students economics with the sale of produce, and budgeting the costs of keeping the facilities running. Social studies through the lens of politics of water, and fighting food shortage. Even English gets in the act for theoretical reading students do to find best practices.
But when talking to students, they don’t bring up the subjects. They’re grateful to be in a program that gets them up and out of typical classroom settings. (Something you’d be hard pressed to find walking through the school) Kiki Nunnery, a Junior at R-5, says the program she helped build, inspired her to work to get a degree in business. She says getting to see first hand what it takes to run a business, is an opportunity she is thankful for.
As the garden and aquaponics system grows, R-5 High School’s plans grow too. Dustin Giesnhagen, an educator of eleven years, says one of the coolest things about they system is that it’s a learning process for all involved. When R-5 harvested their cucumbers, (a 116 pound yield) staff found, they had more produce than they had prepared for. He says, showing students, teachers are still learning too, and don’t always have all the answers might be the most powerful lesson.
Staff KREX spoke with say, they are always looking for community support and volunteers. If you would like to get involved, they say call R-5 HS and they would be happy to get you hooked up.