School District Five is partnering with a local farm to become the first school district in South Carolina to offer hydroponic lettuce from the State Farmers Market to students.
Hydroponic lettuce is soil free and uses 98% less water than traditional farming. Local distribution of the crops means a smaller carbon footprint and a longer shelf life for the lettuce. From a nutrition standpoint, the lettuce grown hydroponically contains more potassium and calcium and protein than most greens.
“School District Five is committed to buying more local products and reducing the carbon footprint,” said Student Nutrition Director Todd Bedenbaugh. “I am excited about the hydroponic lettuce that we will be serving in all of our schools because it contains no pesticides or harmful chemicals.”
The hydroponic lettuce is being purchased from Vertical Roots Farm located at the State Farmers Market. School District Five has received two USDA School grants of $200,000 to promote Farm to School Programs.
School District Five Student Nutrition managers received training about the hydroponic lettuce and its health benefits on January 15. The new lettuce will start being delivered to all School District Five schools on January 27.