FFA and Hydroponics: An Interview with Jay Super

The World of High School Hydroponics

A few weeks ago we got a glimpse into the world of high school hydroponics and had the opportunity to examine the impacts that one hydroponic garden had on a high school in Maize, Kansas. During the process, we got to know educator Jay Super.

Today, we check back with Mr. Super on a topic briefly mentioned in that previous post: FFA and hydroponics. In this interview we hear about how his FFA chapter has been affected by the school’s implementation of a hydroponics hallway. Students at Maize High School have the opportunity to explore hydroponics through a variety of methods, including the use ZipGrow towers to grow vertically and the impact is astonishing!

Show Notes:

  • (0:25) – What is FFA?
  • (3:42) – FFA from a modern perspective: it’s not just future farmers.
  • (5:30) – A rural feel, but an urban base. You won’t believe where the United States’ largest FFA programs are located! (Here’s a hint: they certainly aren’t farmers).
  • (9:15) – FFA and Urban Agriculture: over 95% suburban students
  • (11:45) – Hydroponics is something anyone can do.

“Hydroponics was great on so many different levels, because one, you can grow food during the school year and inside, and two, we’ve said this from the very beginning, this is something anybody can do. If you live in an apartment complex, if you have a balcony or a patio, you can grow your own food, you can grow fresh food right there… it is the easiest thing! There’s a million different ways to do this. It’s really really fun, it’s creative, and it’s not hard. It’s something that anyone can do. I honestly believe that.”

  • (14:00) – Plants: the ultimate class pet.
  • FFA HydroponicsLight shone through the exterior window of the hydroponics hallway.

    (17:00) – How hydroponics helped recruit new FFA members and filled 2 sections of a new horticulture class

  • (18:40) – How has your group been involved with ZipGrow towers and the hydroponics hallway?
  • (20:30) – To see the system referenced read our post: How a Hydroponic Garden Transformed this Kansas School
  • (21:22) – Fundraising with a classroom CSA: The New Lemonade Stand
  • (22:38) – Another fundraising idea: Delivering fresh salads from the ZipGrow Greenwall
  • (23:05) – What types of skills do FFA students learn from hydroponics?
  • (24:40) – Integrated Pest Management and the Scientific Method
  • (25:45) – SAEs (Supervised Agricultural Experiences) and Hydroponics: How three students took what they learned beyond the classroom and into the real world.

“That’s a great example of that hydroponics stuff definitely changing these kids lives, changing their paths, hooking them, and pulling them in.”

  • (30:08 ) – Next year’s focus: an official SAE class to provide students with real world experience and practical skills sets
  • (31:40) – Cash awards for FFA students
  • (33:00) – How FFA, SAEs and hydroponics give students an edge up when applying for college and jobs.
  • (39:30) – More resources on FFA

More Helpful Links

How will hydroponics impact your school?

Do you have an FFA program at your school?

Do you want to discover the endless possibilities of school hydroponics?

Start your own classroom hydroponic garden today!

Is your FFA program looking for grant funding? Check out these FFA Grants for Growing.

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