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Forsyth schools go hydroponic


Lettuce grown in water will be served



LETTUCE
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July 24, 2012
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. Starting this fall, Forsyth County Schools system will provide students with hydroponic lettuce grown in Cumming.

Circle A Farms, 2955 Dishroom Road, has landed a deal to supply 34 county schools in its area. This brings the school system in compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm-to-School initiative.

Forsyth Schools will provide produce orders to their food vendor based on lettuce needs, then the schools' vendor will purchase the lettuce from Circle A Farms.

This new deal means possible expansion to the hydroponic farming operations.

"It means we'll pretty much sell out," Circle A Farms owner Jeff Adams said. "It's great for us."

(READ MORE ABOUT CIRCLE A FARMS HERE.)

However, it is not a contract and the school can cancel anytime.

"We will use [their lettuce] as long as it is available, reasonably priced, quality product and it works for the nutrition program," said Andrea Perkins, acting director of the Forsyth County School nutrition program.

The decision developed from a field trip taken by the school nutrition staff.

"We got a phone call from Circle A Farms, and they asked us if we knew of them, at that time we didn't," Perkins said. "But we were interested. It was right before the end of school, so we did a field trip."

They toured Circle A Farms' greenhouse and watched the hydroponic growth process.

"There were several visits, and [the decision] took several months," Adams said. "[The school system] has wanted to do local stuff, and it just happened to be that it worked out with us."

The schools system said they will purchase as much produce as they can.

Perkins said the schools go through a lot of lettuce with several different dishes available each day at school for students.

"By the end of the year, it will be thousands of cases," Perkins said.

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