ORANGE, Calif. — July 22, 2015 — Schools may be out for summer, but that hasn’t slowed the growth of the Orange High School Agriculture Program. In addition to participating in the Orange County Fair this week, students have been working hard to start a farm-to-table program, including the recent installation of an integrated fish pond and sustainable garden.
The “Fish Project” included the construction of a 600 gallon pond to raise tilapia, a type of cichlid, and 90 square feet of planting space to grow vegetables and herbs. The two are coupled so that water from the fish can be used to provide nutrients to the plants, which in turn will help to filter the water for the fish. When harvest time comes, students will process both the fish and produce to sell to students’ families and school staff, with the remainder to be sold at the Orange Farmers Market.
In addition to the new aquaculture feature, the school plans to implement a vertical garden and add egg-laying hens, enabling students to sell farm-fresh eggs, this fall. All projects will be managed by students enrolled in Agriculture.
“These new changes will make a great change in the agriculture department, teaching students and the community about sustainable agriculture,” said Patti Williams, head of the Orange High’s Agriculture Program. “Students will learn the importance of growing food and how it gets from the farm to the table.”
Community members can see Williams’ students in action at the Orange County Fair from now until July 26. Students will also be at the fair August 11-16 for Animal Display Week.