Green Acres Urban Farm and Research Project aims to educate local students on aquaponics
KCP&L's Energizing Our Environment Microgrant program provides grants to projects that make an environmental difference in our communities. ln 2017, more than 70 nonprofits from Kansas and Missouri submitted applications and we were proud to partner with 23 organizations on their environmental projects throughout our region. One of this year's winners is actively making the Kansas City metro area more sustainable-the Green Acres Urban Farm and Research Project. This pilot program has been in full swing since the grant was awarded last August.Green Acres was founded in 2010 by Carol Coe. Her mission was to educate the community on aquaponics as the future of food production. Her primary focus was the inner city, whose grocery stores often do not offer many healthy options.Aquaponics is a revolutionary way to grow food. This system uses waste produced by fish to fertilize plants to grow fruit and vegetables in water. The "soilless" process ls efficient and does not involve synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. The best part...th s growing process can take place year-round, regardless of the weather.Since receiving the KCP&L grant, Director Bill Coe has launched a successful pilot training program with area students. These students who visit the urban farm get the opportunity to learn about aquaponics from start to finish, studying the relationships of plants and fish through workshops like "Aquaponics and You" and "Recipes for Success." Coe said, "Kids can Learn about aquaponics from a textbook, but it's not the same as the interactive approach we use at Green Acres. This grant opened the door to purchase the necessary supplies for the workshops, including science materials, journals, and lab coats,"The lessons provide kids with a hands-on Learning experience that coincides with the STEIM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum. The kids even get to try and take home some of the organically grown vegetables after they're done!Coe is optimistic about the future of the project. He hopes to grow his partnership with other schools to further educate the community. One way he plans to do this is to mobilize educational opportunities through school visits and outreach. "Leaders in the business community have recognized the importance of this project, which has been key in spreading our message. We hope to garner additional support so that we can create a healthier community," said Coe.KCP&L would like to thank Green Acres for making our community a better place to live and work if you're interested in learning more about our Energizing Our Environment Microgrant visit us at www.kcpl.com/energize.