Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

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.

button coupons
button classifieds

In Other News...

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (12/24/14) ― The Madisonville Police Department is investigating a fight involving gunfire and a… Read More

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (12/24/14) — The following indictments were recently returned by a Hopkins County Grand Jury. John… Read More

Most Read This Week

December 24, 2014 10352

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 19, 2014 6148

Armstrong Mine to Layoff 39 by End of Day

in Top News For All Sites by Rita Dukes Smith, SurfKY News Director
December 19, 2014 5232

Dawson Springs Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Detective Sean McCance
December 19, 2014 4699

Woman Flown to St. Mary's after Two-Car Collision

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 19, 2014 3935

Vehicle Fire Causes Traffic Back-Up on Pennyrile

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 23, 2014 3799

Couple's Alleged Dispute over Blanket Leads to…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 19, 2014 3651

Vehicle Explodes into Flames on Pride Avenue

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Gwen Smith
December 23, 2014 3263

Alleged Theft at Walmart Sends Two to Jail

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 22, 2014 3171

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 22, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 20, 2014 2995

KET’s Kentucky Life Segment to Feature Old…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

December 24, 2014 10352

Christmas Eve Bloody Brawl Erupts on Dulin Street

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis
December 23, 2014 2749

Disturbance Results in Vehicle, Foot Pursuit,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Officer Tyler Russell
December 23, 2014 2452

Hopkins County Grand Jury Indictments

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Karen McKnight
December 24, 2014 1526

KCC Hosts 'Gift of Life' Opportunity

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Tammy Holloway, SurfKY News
December 24, 2014 1487

'Frozen' Plays to One Last Packed House at Living…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 24, 2014 1463

2014 Looking Back: World Saddened at Death of…

in Top News For All Sites by Paul McRee, SurfKY News
December 24, 2014 1390

Statewide Broadband Initiative Launched

in Top News For All Sites by Office of the Governor
December 24, 2014 1281

True Gift of Christmas Trumps Evil by Richard…

in Top News For All Sites by Richard Nelson
December 24, 2014 1110

How to Avoid Post-Holiday Shopping Crowds

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
December 24, 2014 1051

Holiday Waste by the Numbers

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


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

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss