CANTON — Hartford middle school in Canton is located in the middle of a food desert, where a lot of residents may not have easy access to fresh, healthy produce.
The students at the STEAMM academy at Hartford in Canton are learning real-life skills by utilizing an unconventional classroom, a greenhouse on the school's property that was built this school year.
The students are learning how to grow their own vegetables with the help of their teacher Jason Board.
“We are trying to look at how can you as a student or your family grow your own healthy food in the city, even if you live in an apartment or a rental, what can we still do?" Board said. "That is kind of our focus, so they understand it is not expensive to eat healthy, especially if we are growing our own food. “
The STEAMM Academy supports students in sixth through eighth grade who are interested in science, technology, engineering, art, math and medicine concepts through real-world applications.
Piper Coss is a sixth-grader at the school who is enrolled in the agriculture class where they grow plants in the greenhouse.
“We are responsible for cleaning, watering and getting rid of any pests if there are any," said 12-year-old Piper. “I really do like gardening it’s fun and we get to go outside every day. You have to take care of the plants so you have responsibility but its also really fun to get out to create new ideas."
The students grow a variety of plants and vegetables in the greenhouse including kale, peppers, tomatoes and basil.
The students can take home the food they grow in class.
“If we help with this food desert we will be helping people by making it easier for them to find food," Piper said. "Not having to drive maybe 30 or 45 minutes to a store.”
The class will be hosting a plant sale on May 15.