Community Green Farms awarded $1.05M by Kansas Department of Children and Families

PITTSBURG, Kan. (KOAM) – Community Green Farms, a non-profit organization in Kansas, has been awarded a grant of $1,052,000 by the Kansas Department for Children and Families. This grant will enable the organization to build farm classrooms in seven counties across the state.

“These farm classrooms are a unique concept, unlike any other foundation in the United States,” said Jim Raver, President of the Board for Community Green Farms “They involve converting indoor container farms into learning spaces that teach children about nutrition and improve their understanding of agriculture.”

According to Raver, the first farm classroom was established at Pittsburg High School in 2022 and has been a resounding success ever since. The grant will allow the organization to expand its project and finish seven farm classrooms across Kansas.

Matt O’Malley, Executive Director of Community Green Farms, explains that these farm classrooms serve multiple purposes. Not only do they provide students with valuable skills and knowledge, but they also produce a significant amount of food for their schools. Schools often purchase lettuce for their salad bars, but with the farm classrooms, students can now grow their own lettuce right on campus.

The farm classrooms make efficient use of space by utilizing vertical towers. Each classroom is equipped with approximately 250 hanging vertical towers, each capable of growing eight to ten heads of lettuce at a time. This means that a single container can essentially function as a two-acre lettuce farm.

One of the advantages of these farm classrooms is their ability to overcome weather challenges. Even in regions experiencing drought, students can still cultivate fresh produce in these controlled environments. This ensures that students have access to nutritious food, regardless of the weather conditions outside.

Community Green Farms has ambitious plans to expand its farm classrooms to all 105 counties in Kansas. Matt O’Malley states that the organization aims to establish farm classrooms in the next ten counties as part of phase two. Their ultimate goal is to provide agricultural education and nutrition opportunities to students throughout the entire state.