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Guest Writers: Mrs. Keirn’s 1st hour

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There is much interest these days in growing food out of season or in non-traditional ways.  Food producers are always searching for ways to provide healthy food more quickly and economically.  This is especially important in colder weather and in areas where land, water, or other natural resources are scarce.  There is also a desire to reduce cost and resources by eliminating damage from disease, pests, and inclement weather.

La Porte High School’s agriculture class is attempting to address some of these concerns through an aquaponics project sponsored by Purdue University.  Mr. Walker and his classes have built an aquaponics system to grow lettuce out of season.  The system uses bluegill caught locally to feed the plants.  Fish excrement creates ammonia that is broken down into nitrate that can be used by the plants.  

Jacob Moore, a junior in Mr. Walker’s class, explained the process of recycling water and waste to grow plants.  Moore stated that it is important to know how to test the pH of the water for the safety and health of both the fish and plants.  Moore believes understanding pH and how to measure it is an important skill.  He explained that he now knows how to find the pH in his hot tub or a swimming pool.  This skill could be of use to those who work in hotels or businesses that have swimming pools or hot tubs.

The agriculture classes are hoping that their lettuce will be ready to eat when professors from Purdue come for a visit before winter break.  Mr. Walker’s classes aren’t the only ones involved in this project.  Mr. Messacar, Mr. Doty, and Mr. Tuholski are planning to get their classes’ projects up and going soon, and, because they will be housed in the greenhouse by the small commons, students and staff will be able to check on their development as the school year progresses.

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Guest Writers: Mrs. Keirn’s 1st hour