Mountain Vista's Hydroponic Farm

Mountain Vista High School has a Hydroponic Farm
Posted on 01/19/2024

Since 2017, Mountain Vista High School staff and students have been operating an on-site hydroponic farm or freight farm. What used to require two to three acres of land to grow food can now be done in a crate/box. 


Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants using a water-based nutrient solution rather than soil. Hydroponics saves water, boosts yield, and enables year-round farming.


Mountain Vista’s freight farm is used by the Agriculture Business class, where students learn the fundamentals of business, all through the lens of the freight farm. Students in the agriculture program play a role in every aspect of farm operations. They seed, transplant, and harvest. They prepare lettuce for sale to students and staff who wish to buy farm produce.  


Proceeds provide the resources for students to build an outdoor learning space and native garden.


The students also learn how to minimize risk and maximize profits through principles including production management, marketing strategies, business record keeping, agricultural communications, and agricultural sales. Students in the class can volunteer for community service hours. Chores include maintaining the equipment and plants and handling projects in the native garden. 


garden“What’s interesting about this hands-on class is that it appeals to so many types of students,” said David Larsen, agriculture business teacher and MV Farm manager.


“We knew that we needed another pathway for non-traditional learners. It’s a very experiential, hands-on class where kids learn through doing. Only about 20 percent of the class is typical classroom instruction, and the other 80 percent is agriculture and running the business,” said Larsen.


The MF Farm also benefits the community. The public can purchase lettuce and herbs directly from the source at the MV Farm on Thursdays from 8:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Students run the register and practice their skills in customer service. 


plantsNew this year is a partnership with the Backpack Society. Any leftover lettuce, kale, arugula, radish, and herbs go straight from the MV Farm to those in need. 


“On Thursdays, we donate a portion of our harvest to the Backpack Society. In turn, the Backpack Society then passes on the produce to the families they serve in our community," said Larsen.


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