Schoolchildren grow own vegetables in smart greenhouse

Students at Koeru High School in Järva County have been able to eat salads made from vegetables grown in the school's very own smart greenhouse before Christmas. In spring, the first seeds will also be planted in a large greenhouse on the school roof. The entire project is being conducted in collaboration with scientists.

The smart greenhouse was bought by Koeru High School in Järva County bought to spice up science lessons for its students. The money for the project came from the Center for Environmental Investments, with students benefiting from the advice and assistance of scientists and agronomists from the Estonian Crop Research Institute (Eesti Taimekasvatuse Instituut.) The first things to be planted were peas, sunflowers, arugula and radishes.

"The seeds are sown on linseed, and then nutrients and water are added automatically. This is an exciting new way that food can be grown without soil," said teacher Anne Muhk.

Just minutes after ninth grader students Eneli and Kevin gathered the lettuce tops from the smart greenhouses, they were served at their classmates' table.

All the children thought the salad was delicious, and even though they also have green lettuce at home, they preferred the kind they have grown themselves at school.

"Tasting (the vegetables) certainly motivates the children a lot more, because every day they see for themselves how all this green stuff grows, and that means they have more trust in the food," said Eveli Lipping, head of the school canteen.

The collaboration between Koeru High School and the Estonian Crop Research Institute  is set to continue. At the end of February, radishes and lettuces will be planted in a large smart greenhouse on the school roof. Several varieties of potatoes will also be planted in the soil to see which greenhouse produces the best harvest.

"As our students are working regularly with scientists, the idea was to do experiments, in order to teach them the basics of growing plants. And our biggest dream from all of this, is that maybe one day we'll grow a future scientist too!" said school principal Jaan Kabin.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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