Gadsden County High School in Havana has opened its doors recently to a new aquaponics system.
Aquaponics is an agricultural method that combines plants and animals in one singular recirculating system. An agricultural biology technology teacher at Gadsden County High School, Eric Toussaint wanted to bring the technology aspect of agriculture to the program so
he asked for an aquaponics system.
Curtis Richardson — the Science, Technology, Engi-
neering and Math coordinator for the Gadsden County School District — found the funding and help that Toussaint would need in order for this project to be suc- cessful. Michele Madison, the director of Farming the Future, teamed up with Toussaint to create this aquaponics system.
Farming the Future is a nonprofit which partners with schools and juvenile detention facilities in Gadsden and Leon County to help build aquaponic systems. This helps students to learn more about what science, tech- nology, engineering and math can offer.
“This system is teaching students that they can be more than just a farmer when it comes to agriculture,” Toussaint said. “They can be an engineer or a scientist, and they can learn how to test water qualities.”
After the aquaponics system was built, more use of the greenhouse began at Gadsden County High School — and with the aquaponics system no spending is needed because everything is circulated through this system or- ganically.
Students got a chance to help build the system as well.
The students will soon be able to say that they helped provide food for their cafeteria and for the community. Cucumbers, lettuce, basil, bell peppers and even wa- termelon are some of the foods that were planted to grow in the greenhouse.
All of the food will be organically grown without the use of pesticides or fertilizer.
This system is allowing students to see that they can grow their own food and care for animals at the same time. It also is showing them how important eating healthy is.
The hope is to bring more bio-technology to the Gadsden County High program.
“This is a good way to get the students excited about some education,” Madison said.
If there are any questions about aquaponics systems, call Madison at (561) 889-2905.