Orange is the new green, at least at Orange High School it is. Students and staff are going green with a sustainable food initiative that infiltrates everything from staff seminars to core curriculum. Their efforts have earned them the Silver Award with National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Eco-Schools USA Program.
This international program helps schools integrate sustainability into the curriculum and onto school grounds, empowering students to change the way they impact the environment. Orange High School joined the program earlier this year and has been making use of the free resources and training offered through Eco-Schools USA to expand their sustainable food initiative.
Under the leadership of Superintendent Ronald Lee and teacher Jonathan Rosenthal, Orange High School launched the Hydroponics Green House Project, a student run business in collaboration with the Culinary Arts Club, the FBLA club and the business and science department. In addition to learning how to grow organic produce in a confined space, students are learning about nutrition, business, and marketing.
“Growing food in a hydroponic greenhouse and establishing a business to market the produce is a wonderful opportunity for our students to be exposed to a potential career. We are also veryproud of all the participants for the work they have done in fostering this eco-friendly project,” says Superintendent Lee. You can see the students at work in this video.
Sustainable food is being integrated into multiple curriculum areas as staff teach common subjects through the lens of sustainability, using sustainable food as examples for skill application.
“Orange High School is an excellent example of how the Eco-Schools program can work,” says Jennifer Dowd, Eco-Schools coordinator, New Jersey Audubon. Jennifer is helping to guide this effort through a free series of intensive professional development seminars for district teachers throughout the year. New Jersey Audubon is an NWF affiliate and the state coordinator for the Eco-Schools program.
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