Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster

Hydroponics on the Horizon

hydroponics 1Screenshot via Yankee MagazineMUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (4/10/14) — Madisonville Community College has partnered with the Muhlenberg County School System to submit a grant proposal to fund the construction of a state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse, to be located at the the Muhlenberg County High School West Campus. 

The Muhlenberg 4-H Nutrition Programs would also play a huge part if the grant gains approval.  

Hydroponics is a complex combination of agriculture, science and technology used to grow vegetables and plants in a climate controlled greenhouse. The process uses numerous water and mineral solutions but no soil. By controlling the climate, temperature, and extending growing seasons to ten months out of the year, many see hydroponics as a huge part in the future of farming.

Craig Dixon, a grant specialist with the MCC Office of Grants, Planning and Effectiveness Department, told SurfKY News that although this is only the first step, with no guarantee of approval, the project has already garnered a huge amount of local support, with grant approvals of $20,000 from the Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation, $20,000 from the Muhlenberg County Board of Education and $10,000 from the Muhlenberg County Fiscal Court.

The 4-H would use their already existing programs to help in distribution and other areas. The Muhlenberg 4-H does a great job of distributing information about healthy eating habits through programs like the 4-H Food Explorers program.

The USDA Community Food Projects Program will likely reap positive results from the greenhouse food production.  

"This USDA program is essentially about getting affordable, nutritious food to those in lower income areas," Dixon said. "It would hopefully increase the amount of fresh and healthy food in many students' regular daily diet."

If approved, the greenhouse would also produce fresh vegetables for the Muhlenberg County High School cafeteria, meaning even more fresh produce in students' diets, according to Dixon.

The final draft of the grant has just been sent, Dixon said.   

"The final request submitted to the USDA was just over $86,000," Dixon said. We were to match that with $50,000 in cash, and the rest was made up in  in kind contributions, including the land used, utility hook ups, and qualitative research focus groups. We actually had a little more in matching funds than is required, which is phenomenal."

Jay McElwain has spent 15 years teaching in the highly successful Muhlenberg County School System's Agriculture Department. McElwain noted that the school system has over 300 students yearly involved in the system's agriculture program, with many of those also in FFA. McElwain told SurfKY News the blueprint for this idea came about some time ago.  

"Just over a year ago, Derrick Benton, who is also an agriculture instructor with the Muhlenberg school system, mentioned that MCC was looking for a school system in the area to partner with on the hydroponic greenhouse project," McElwain said. "That sort of got the ball rolling."

According to McElwain, the greenhouse would be a net-zero, self sustaining operation if constructed.

"The spec, as we want to build it would be solar-powered and geothermal heated," McElwain said. "So in a year's time it would generate enough energy to sustain itself. Of course we would have electricity as a backup. All the water used would be recycled. And the thing controlling all this is new technology. So even though it would be an agricultural endeavor, it would also allow for other departments in the school."

With so many in the county, and at MCC backing the hydroponic greenhouse plan, the final decision now rests with the USDA.

Paul McRee
SurfKY News Reporter

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16
3/13 - 16

In Other News...

Longest Students Encouraged to ‘Get Fit’ with Baptist Health Funded Fitness Equipment

GREENVILLE, Ky. (10/1/14) — Longest Elementary School celebrated Project Fit America yesterday, Sept. 30 as Baptist… Read More

Crime Stoppers Fugitive of the Week – Oct. 1, 2014

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (10/1/14) — The above photos are local fugitives that are currently being sought by local… Read More
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week (Site-Wide)

September 27, 2014 3956

Hopkins County Grand Jury Misdemeanor Indictments

in News by Karen McKnight
September 29, 2014 3572

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix to…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 27, 2014 2939

Sinister on Center Takes Haunted Manor to Whole…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 2491

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision on…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 29, 2014 2403

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO Against…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 28, 2014 2387

Community Shows Support to Muhlenberg Humane…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 28, 2014 2145

Marching Mustangs Take Third in Ohio Competition

in Top Stories by Information provided by Shawna Hendrix
September 29, 2014 2107

Man Charged with PI, Drugs, After Allegedly…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 27, 2014 1861

Hopkins/Webster Counties Native, Paducah Writer…

in Top Stories by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
September 27, 2014 1816

Happenings and Meetings - Hopkins County

in News by Amber Averitt, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 1753

Traffic Accident on Brown Road

in News by Madisonville Police Department

Most Read Stories from Hopkins County

September 29, 2014 2491

One Injured in Single-Vehicle Collision…

in Top Stories by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
September 29, 2014 2403

Man, Woman Charged with Violating EPO…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 2107

Man Charged with PI, Drugs, After…

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 29, 2014 1579

Man Arrested for DUI, Marijuana Possession

in Top Stories by Madisonville Police Department
September 28, 2014 1419

Angel Garden Dedicated at Baptist…

in Top Stories by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News

Most Read Stories from Muhlenberg County

September 29, 2014 3572

Endless Road Strings Bring Orchestra Mix…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 28, 2014 2387

Community Shows Support to Muhlenberg…

in Top Stories by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
September 28, 2014 2145

Marching Mustangs Take Third in Ohio…

in Top Stories by Information provided by Shawna Hendrix
September 29, 2014 1532

Fourteen Year Old Parker Hastings Wins…

in Top Stories by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
September 29, 2014 1509

One Injured in Two-Vehicle Collision

in Top Stories by Trooper Stu Recke

SurfKY News Group, Inc. Central Office & Printing Division
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431  •  270.452.2249 (fax)
Main Number: 270.452.2727 (phone)  •  Printing Division Direct Line: 270.821.8600 (phone)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social 03social 04social 22social 21social 06