The Saba Comprehensive School, in collaboration with Jim Garza of the Gezondheid Farms, held a 6-week intensive Horticulture/Hydroponics Agriculture program. This week the first group of students from the 6th grade completed their assignments and now move onto the next level of exposure to career-oriented science, technology, engineering, and math influences as they approach the high school curriculum.
Each student was assigned a 12 plant hydroponic grow system funded by the Saba Comprehensive School Program. For three weeks, the students had to construct, mechanically make adjustments, run water trials, seed grow plugs, add nutrients, monitor pH levels, and total dissolved solid nutrient levels with oversight from SCS Intern Johann Post of Utrecht University, Netherlands. Over the 6 weeks, the class exposed the students to mechanical, electrical, chemical nutrient, and plant physiology technologies to broaden their horizons in new technology innovations related to indoor vertical farming operations.
All in all, each student had exposure to many elements of S.T.E.M.-related activities promoting advanced agriculture techniques adopted by tomorrow’s farmers across the globe. “It is good to keep our Saba Youth involved in new technologies, and agriculture is no exception,” stated Commissioner Wilson. “The Intensive Horticulture Greenhouse Project will become a center point for Youth Intensive Horticulture training in collaboration with our local schools and after-school programs.
Once the student completes the 6-week course, they can take the grow system they trained on in the classroom home to continue their interests and studies. As they need consumable supplies (seeds, grow plugs, nutrient liquids, etc.), they can volunteer for 1 hour at the Gezondheid Farm to earn a 3 month supply. We hope to see our 6th graders someday hold management positions at Gezondheid Farms once they complete their college goals. A second 6 week class of new students will start in two weeks. Principal Hermans and Gezondheid Farms hope to expand the program into a career-oriented approved certificate course of technical training in agriculture.