Hydroponic farming is an alternative agricultural method where a substrate like gravel, Matrix Media™, or perlite is used instead of soil. As hydroponics gains popularity for growers constrained by space or markets, it also opens up hundreds of opportunities related to sustainability, food quality, and teaching. In 2017 we decided we wanted to make vertical hydroponics more accessible for teachers and students and set out to design a purposely built growing system for classrooms.
The resulting ZipGrow™ Education Rack is a hydroponic system utilizing our patented ZipGrow™ Towers. It’s an easy-to-use system, mounted to its own modular rolling frame so it can be moved around and through any standard size doorway. The all-in-one system comes with LED lights and brings to life school classrooms while providing a delicious sustainable product. You can choose between a one sided or a two sided Education Rack. The one-sided Rack has eight 5’ ZipGrow™ towers, and the two-sided comes with sixteen 5’ ZipGrow™ towers. Each tower is able to produce around 4lbs of produce each week, depending on the crop. You can read more about the best crops to grow in ZipGrow™ Towers in our Quick Crops Guide.
Benefits for Educators
Hydroponics has been around for a while, with a history that ranges from Aztec cities to WW2 outposts in the Pacific. In the last decade or two, however, hydroponic techniques have made a significant jump in sophistication and usability. With that usability comes not only benefits for farmers, but benefits for educators. Some of the benefits include:
1. A wide range of teachability.
2. Growing plants fosters innovation and critical thinking skills.
3. Increases conscience surrounding food issues.
The first step to creating that awareness is showing students what the process from seed to plate looks like. Having students manage that process brings up questions like, “What if we were growing a whole farm full of this crop? How do farmers bring produce to stores to sell it?”
4. Hands-on learning opportunities.
Challenges of teaching hydroponics in the classroom
Of course, any intensive teaching method requires work; but having a hydroponic garden should require no more work than a small garden or a class guinea pig. Our Education Racks are designed to only need a few hours of hands on work each week to maintain and grow produce.
Frequently Asked Questions about classroom gardens
A common concern with beginning hydroponics is the logistics of system management. Here are some frequently asked questions about management of a classroom system:
Will the system leak?
Does it need supervision on the weekends?
Can I shut it down in the summer?
Where can I learn more about hydroponics?
Questions? Get In Touch!
We’re happy to provide answers to any questions you have, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, or send a message through our Get In Touch form.
Address: 425F Fourth Street West | Cornwall, Ontario Canada