Marshall County school adds fresh hydroponic lettuce to lunches

Marshall County school adds fresh hydroponic lettuce to lunches
(Source: WAFF)

DOUGLAS, AL (WAFF) - Students at one Marshall County school are eating a bit healthier thanks to a local farmer.

Students at Douglas High School are eating a little more healthy this week.

"Students eat with their eyes first so this beautiful lettuce that is on the bar today. Hopefully they'll start picking it up and eating more of the fresh fruits and vegetables," said the school's nutrition supervisor, Casey Partain.

The school's nutrition supervisor worked to get more than 120 heads of hyd roponic lettuce to the salad bar this week. It came from a nearby farmer nearby in Etowah county. He says much goes in to make sure it's healthy, healthy enough that his children enjoy it.

"We don't use any chemicals. We don't use any kind of pesticides or anything, and they'll eat our lettuce off the tables if we let them at the greenhouse," said Lee Harrison, owner of Gardens On Air.

State officials are encouraging schools to bring more fresh foods into their cafeterias. That's the goal of the agriculture and industries' Farm To School program.

"We want to see nearly every school involved in working with the local farmer one on one getting seasonal items into the cafeterias," said Andrea Carter, a program assistant with the Department of Agriculture and Industries.

But what do the students think?  So far, so good.

"Um, it was pretty good. It had a good taste to it. It was better than regular lettuce," said Douglas High student Ainsley Willoughby.

"It was very good. It didn't have a dirt kind of taste that regular lettuce does," said student Jake Gentry.

If it goes over well, Partain says they may want to bring more fresh fruits and vegetables to other schools in the county.

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