Hydroponic School Gardens: How ScottsMiracle-Gro and No Kid Hungry Are Providing Fresh Food Options in Schools

Aug 13, 2019 10:50 AM ET

Clark Creek Elementary in Acworth, Georgia, is about to get an upgrade to its food pantry.
The school pantry feeds 92 kindergarten through 5th grade students each week, giving them a backpack full of food to keep them from going hungry over evenings and weekends when school meals aren’t available. Many of the kids take food home to feed younger siblings too. To date, the school pantry hasn’t been able to offer fresh fruit or vegetables; but that’s about to change.
Clark Creek is one of 20 schools to receive a Gro More Good garden grant. The grant provides two hydroponic garden systems, plus the seeds and technical support to grow fresh vegetables throughout the school year. These hydroponic gardens enable schools to grow fresh produce inside the classroom, regardless of weather conditions or limited outdoor space. And since one hydroponically grown plant can produce more than 10x the yield of one grown traditionally in soil, the schools will have double the harvest, too.
This grant is part of an initiative by The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation, in partnership with No Kid Hungry, to increase healthy food access and reduce hunger among kids who need it most. Together, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and No Kid Hungry will work to get more hydroponic gardens into schools, equipping them to grow their own fresh food. Growing hydroponically helps schools maximize their harvests, use less water and grow during all months of the school year; not just during the spring and summertime, when some schools aren’t in session.  
Clark Creek says the indoor gardens will help their students focus on learning, rather than on rumbling stomachs or fears of a weekend without food. They plan to use the fresh produce to supplement the school’s food pantry and backpack program and also to create healthy options for students who don’t have anything to eat during snack time.
"Our students' have rapidly developing bodies and brains," said Karen Garland, Discovery Lab Teacher at Clark Creek Elementary. "These indoor gardens will help us provide the nutrients and healthy snacks they need during this important stage of development."
In addition to the garden grants, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation’s support of No Kid Hungry will help provide up to 4.5 million healthy meals for hungry kids by 2021. This furthers ScottsMiracle-Gro’s larger Gro More Good mission to connect 10 million children to the benefits of gardens and greenspaces over the next five years.
Check out the 2019–2020 Gro More Good garden grantees here