Gratiot County educator’s plans for greenhouse brings rural community together

A rural science teacher says desires to build a greenhouse in his school have transformed how students are learning about food and agriculture. 

Jeremy Winsor teaches at Fulton Schools in central Michigan and tells Brownfield after teaching aquaponics for a few years in a classroom without a nearby water source, he garnered community and Farm Bureau support for a greenhouse with aquaponic and hydroponic systems.

“We ended up building a greenhouse that’s three times the size of what I ever envisioned,” he says, “We’re raising rainbow trout, yellow perch, and some catfish and our system takes the waste product from those fish and all of the ammonium is converted into usable forms of nitrogen that we then have a series of grow beds for plants.”

His students are now able to compete in a local college’s aquaponics challenge and ag lesson plans have been implemented in seventh through twelfth grade with the help of the National Ag in the Classroom program.

“Sometimes I feel like teachers are disconnected from specifically what a farmer would do in their day-to-day work and reaching out to local farmers as a teacher could definitely be a benefit.”

Winsor says long-term, he hopes to re-charter an FFA program within his district which was dissolved in the 1980s and building more hands-on experiences on the science of food production.

Winsor was recognized as the 2019 Michigan Farm Bureau Educator of the Year at this week’s state annual meeting. 

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