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Hydroponic Greenhouse Coming to Muhlenberg County High School Thanks to $90K USDA Grant

Giancarlo Dessi, via Wikimedia Commons

 The United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded a $90,000 grant toward the construction of a hydroponic greenhouse on the west campus of Muhlenberg County High School.

The grant, part of the USDA’s Community Food Projects program, goes to a consortium made up of MCHS, Madisonville Community College and Muhlenberg County 4-H.

Madisonville Community College’s Craig Dixon helped spearhead the effort to get the grant. Dixon says the greenhouse will primarily be used by high school students to grow produce for the school’s cafeteria.

“They can do it cheaper, obviously, than you can buy it from a supplier and then the students kind of have something invested in it,” Dixon said. “You know, somebody who’s not maybe the biggest fan of cucumbers is getting this peer pressure. ‘Hey, I grew that cucumber. You need to give that a chance. Here’s what went into it’.”

Dixon said the grant also bolsters local programs like the 4-H’s Food Explorers.

“Folks from the ag extension office and 4-H go out into the elementary schools in the county and they bring with them some kind of fresh produce that students maybe have not tried before," Dixon said.

The federal grant will be matched 100 percent, locally, with $30,000 from the Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation and $20,000 from the Muhlenberg County Fiscal Court.

Dixon said he’s hopeful the greenhouse can be open in time for school next August.

John Null is the host and creator of Left of the Dial. From 2013-2016, he also served as a reporter in the WKMS newsroom.
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