Urban agriculture program returns to Vincent High

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Student Lakasia Tate and teacher Kevin Hach work in the hydroponic garden. (Photo by Sue Vliet)

Harold S. Vincent High School is returning to its roots. For the first time in 30 years, the school has hired an agricultural instructor for the 2012-2013 school year.

Visitors to a recent open house at the high school, 7501 N. Granville Road, observed aquaponics, bees and a “hoop house,” a greenhouse made of plastic.

The new agricultural program has a distinct 21st century focus, merging science and technology. Students can sign up for courses in botany, biotechnology/biofuels, urban agriculture, urban gardening/horticulture, landscape and design, greenhouse techniques, aquaponics and veterinary science.

“Our young people deserve course options that pique their interest as well as expose them to and prepare them for diverse career possibilities,” MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton said.

“This program is going to make a difference in many students’ lives. It gives them knowledge and opportunities that were not available before,” said teacher Kevin Hach, who gave visitors a tour of the outdoor classroom space, apple orchard, apiaries and the hoop house.

The new program will provide students with a great opportunity to learn about urban agriculture and experience the careers available in food and beverage manufacturing, food science and urban agriculture, said Eric Radomski, MPS career and technical education curriculum specialist. “It also helps our young people become more connected to and better understand the source of the food they eat,” he added.

The program is partnering with two Milwaukee-based urban agriculture businesses, Growing Power and Sweetwater Organics, as well as with Milwaukee Area Technical College, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

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