The first crop has already been harvested from the aquaponics lab at Choffin Career and Technical Center in Youngstown.
Several varieties of lettuce grown by the students were picked and sold to school personnel.
“It was delicious,” said Renee English, Choffin spokeswoman.
Aquaponics — the cultivation of fish and vegetation in a closed ecosystem — is a new program this year at Choffin. School officials believe it’s the first in Ohio.
Antwan Anderson, 16, a sophomore at Choffin, said the students are growing beans and squash as well as the lettuce in a greenhouse on the school campus. He has another crop in mind.
“I’d like to grow tomatoes,” he said.
The vegetables grow with water from tilapia housed in tanks in the building’s basement, Antwan explained.
A series of pipes and pumps connect the tanks to the vegetable garden beds upstairs. Waste from the fish fertilizes the plant beds, and the plant beds filter the water that goes back into the tank.
Sophomore Jamee Robertson, 15, likes the aquaponics program and said the best part is being able to see the fruits (and vegetables) of her labor. She’s grown strawberries with her family at home but the class marked a first for lettuce.