US (CA): Strathmore FFA Farm adds CropBox, greenhouses

The Strathmore FFA Farm is taking shape with the 12 acres of Ag land added to the school’s farm last year. A part of the Porterville Unified School District, Strathmore has seen huge developments in its FFA program with two new greenhouses, its CropBox operational, a new farm store, and new livestock pens being built.

One of the new 40×60-foot greenhouses is to be an aquaponics unit. Not up and running yet, the aquaponics house will utilize the partnership between growing plants without soil and raising fish in the environment. The other is a more traditional greenhouse, although better equipped to handle extreme temperatures with a retractable roof and heating pads for new plantings.

The Ag department’s CropBox is a portable facility providing a maintained environment for crop growth. Plants thrive without weather fluctuations or pests, while conserving water. According to the company, Williamson Greenhouses, a CropBox uses “90% less water than conventional and greenhouse cultivation.”

Currently one-half of the CropBox is planted with lettuce, said FFA senior Tanner Nuckols. The CropBox is maintained at 75 degrees, 24-hours a day, he said, and the crop should be ready within 30 days of planting, faster than it would take in traditional ground growth. This will be the first crop raised in the new CropBox.

Read more at Valley Voice (Nancy Vigran)

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