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4C Academy breaks ground on hydroponic greenhouse

Video from WALB
Published: May. 5, 2022 at 6:44 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -The 4C Academy broke ground Thursday on their hydroponics operation, which is a part of the school’s Commodore Gardens.

The Commodore Gardens is a project students from 4C Academy have been working on throughout the...
The Commodore Gardens is a project students from 4C Academy have been working on throughout the school year.(WALB)

What started off as a school project has blossomed into something even bigger. Students at the 4C Academy have been working all school year to plant, build and ultimately, give back to the community.

“We’ve got 14 different career pathways here at the 4C Academy and each and every one of those pathways had a part in this garden, from our technology students that were developing a robotics system that sits over a raised bed garden to our construction students who built all of this infrastructure to our agri-business students who actually farm it and everybody in between,” said Chris Hatcher, CEO of 4C Academy.

Hatcher said that throughout the pandemic, 10,000 pounds of produce have already been donated to organizations around the community. But the next phase of the project, a 5,800 square foot hydroponics greenhouse, is expected to expand the garden’s mission.

The hydroponics greenhouse will provide more produce to the community.
The hydroponics greenhouse will provide more produce to the community.(WALB)
Video from WALB

“With the Hydroponics Greenhouse, it is our plan to really supply the school system and the cafeterias with some of their fresh produce,” Hatcher said.

Construction on the greenhouse starts this week and is expected to be finished in the late summer. While the goal behind the garden is to serve the community, students have also been served as the classroom has been brought outside throughout the school year.

“It’s allowed our students to take their academic knowledge, skill and technical training and apply it to real-world situations,” said Angie Gardner, 4C Acadamy principal.

Hatcher added that he’s hoping to help each of the student’s futures by exposing them to careers in the agricultural business.

“So what we’re doing in this garden space is informing our students about our state’s number one industry. There are a lot of career opportunities to participating in this industry and that’s what we’re trying to share in this space,” he said.

And according to some students, the garden has done that and more.

Devin Hall, video and audio student at 4C Academy, said the project has introduced him to a hands-on learning experience.

Devin Hall, 4C Academy student, said that he liked getting hands-on experience out in the garden.
Devin Hall, 4C Academy student, said that he liked getting hands-on experience out in the garden.(WALB)

“It helped me get hands-on with my pathway and learn how to make videos and conduct interviews. And it’s just allowed many opportunities to showcase what I know,” he said.

Mckenzie Whitaker, agri-bussiness student, said that seeing everything come together has made her very proud to be a part of the creation of the garden. She encourages other students to also give back to their community.

Mckenzie Whitaker, 4C Academy student, said she hopes the garden will encourage others to give...
Mckenzie Whitaker, 4C Academy student, said she hopes the garden will encourage others to give back to the community.(WALB)

“As far as students go, I want everyone to know that this is so easy to do in your backyard. It’s so easy to give back,” she said. “And as for my community, I want them to know how grateful I am that they’ll be able to take this kind of stuff home and share it with their families and help just the food insecurity we have here in Albany, Georgia.”

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