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Combining Agriculture, Technology, Careers, and Community Service

Students at Trinity High School grow food in a hydroponic facility that combines curricular concepts and community service.

Students in the Advanced Hydroponics Management course at Trinity High School use concepts of agriculture, chemistry, and biotechnology to grow over 800 heads of lettuce and other vegetables and herbs to benefit needy families through the local food bank. The Freight Farm is one of only 6 on a high school campus in the United States. Soon, the farm will be powered mostly by wind and solar power.



HundrED shortlisted this innovation

HundrED has shortlisted this innovation to one of its innovation collections. The information on this page has been checked by HundrED.

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December 2018
The Freight Farm is an example of what makes the Trinity community strong. Our students are proud to help those who are less fortunate than themselves, and the applications to our curriculum are seemingly endless.

About the innovation

Authenticity Meets Community

Washington, PA, 30 miles south of Downtown Pittsburgh, is home to a diverse economy, ranging from bedroom suburbs to manufacturing, industry, and agriculture.

Trinity High School's Freight Farm is housed in a shipping container on campus, and it houses the equivalent of an acre of farm land, while using minimal resources of power and water.

The fully automated Freight Farm is supervised by Mrs. Jeannette Hartley, a Trinity Agriculture and Gifted Specialist, who has a unique background as a teacher and a farmer with a biology degree. Students in the Greenhouse Production Management course help to plant, maintain, and harvest the crops. Additionally, students from Advanced Placement courses such as AP Chemistry assist with the mixing of chemicals to foster optimal growing conditions.

The Freight Farm grows between 800-1,200 heads of lettuce per week. 800 of these heads are donated to the Greater Washington County Food Bank to benefit needy families within our region.

The Freight Farm has been the catalyst for business and industry partnerships, where students create advertisements and other promotional documents that are used by the Food Bank and other local business partners in their businesses. Additionally, students are actively involved as the producers of food, and they are actively involved in the production of advertisement/promotional materials that are used by our local business partners. All of these artifacts give our students the ability to use 21st Century Skills, such as collaboration and communication, as well as having items to add to a portfolio that students can use in job or collegiate applications.

Implementation steps

Secure Funding

Trinity's Freight Farm was funded through the generous support of the Local Share Account in Washington County, in partnership with the Greater Washington County Food Bank.

Prepare Site
The site will need to be level enough that with minor modifications, the Freight Farm will be level. Be sure that it has connections to electricity and water.
Complete Training
All chemical mixtures will vary based upon crops and upon atmospheric conditions. Once training is complete, it will take experimentation of your local team to determine the best growing conditions.
Compile a Team to Monitor and Maintain

The Trinity High School Freight Farm is managed by the Greenhouse Production Management team, which is a class in our Vocational Agriculture program. These students apply their knowledge of chemistry and biosciences to maintain the foods grown in the Freight Farm. Students also experiment with the impact of environmental factors (e.g. playing music in the Farm) on the growth of the crops.

Connect Management to Educational Outcomes
In addition to the management team, our future outcomes will add our Physics classes to the investigation of how wind and solar power create renewable energy. This portion of the project will be completed in Spring 2019, and we will add the educational piece to the Physics courses in the 2019-20 school year.

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