Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP), Arlington, Va., launched its Seafood in Schools pilot project, which provides teachers nationwide with a grant and supplies to bring tabletop fish and garden aquaponics systems into the classroom. Along with this opportunity, some schools are even accepting the challenge to offer more seafood on their lunch menus.
The aquaponics pilot is intended to help students learn about how to grow and be responsible for fish and vegetables, and to understand the basics of farming fish, seafood sustainability, the symbiotic relationships between fish and plants and the health benefits of eating seafood.
The pilot program launched 11 education programs across the country, including:
- Skiles Test Elementary in Indianapolis, Ind., a STEM magnet program, which hopes to build a larger aquaponics system at the school to supply its cafeteria in the future. SNP was introduced to this school by local coalition member American Heart Association Indianapolis.
- In Oklahoma City, Okla., Broadmoore Elementary School and Dove Science Academy High School are working to introduce more seafood into the school lunch menu.
- AJ Wittenberg Elementary in Greenville, S.C., where the teacher and the school’s foodservice team are working together to bring healthy cooking into the classroom, are serving more seafood on the school lunch menu with guidance from SNP K-12 Ambassador Joe Urban.
- An eighth grade science teacher at Aspire Haney Middle School and a fourth grade science teacher at Southern Avenue Charter Schools, both in Memphis, Tenn., will introduce the program to their students, along with a non-profit agriculture education organization, Memphis Tilth.
- A teacher at Gesher Jewish Day School in Fairfax, Va., will utilize the curriculum within the fifth grade classroom.
- The Kanawha County, W.V., schools are hosting a seafood week in their schools’ cafeterias in October, pairing that with the aquaponics systems in three classrooms: Andrews Heights Elementary School, Bridge/Clendenin Elementary School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.
In the initial pilot, SNP will measure knowledge gained by both students and teachers, determine the key success factors for teachers, as well as the support required from the teacher’s school.
“Through the Seafood in Schools Aquaponics Pilot, we hope students will learn about the importance of seafood in its role for supporting human health, environmental health and the ability to sustainably feed future generations,” says Linda Cornish, SNP president.
SNP is working with The Aquaponic Source, Boulder, Colo., which is helping source products and provides the curriculum, and AquaSprouts, Austin, Texas, which makes the desktop garden system and will provide customer service to assist the teachers.