Second Bourbon County Farm Classroom Planned

Leadership at Fort Scott USD234 is partnering with Pittsburg-based nonprofit organization, Community GreenFarms (CGF), to bring an innovative farm classroom to the district.

The farm classroom projects being established by the nonprofit are located inside converted shipping containers outfitted with state-of-the-art hydroponic growing systems. Each unit is capable of producing nearly 500 heads of leafy greens per week, all
year round.

Once at the school, Agriculture and other teachers oversee students who manage the farm from seed to harvest, the majority of which is taken directly to the cafeteria and served in school meals. Schools may also choose to sell produce to restaurants or at farmers’ markets, donate it to nonprofits, or even send it home with
students for families to eat.

CGF was recently awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Children and Families to accelerate
their statewide farm-to-school program, the goal of which is to improve the health and habits of high school students at seven Southeast Kansas schools while teaching them new skills. The counties of focus are Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Labette, Linn, Montgomery, and Wilson. While each of these schools will have the cost of their farm classroom covered by the grant, projects in other counties were funded differently.

In Cherokee, Crawford, and Neosho counties, the nonprofit established farm classrooms through a grassroots fundraising
a campaign similar to the one planned for Fort Scott.

This is the second such project planned for Bourbon County, as Uniontown USD235 is being provided one through a grant opportunity. While both schools applied to be the recipient of the grant-funded farm classroom, Uniontown was ultimately the school district selected by CGF.

The leadership at Fort Scott still wanted to bring one to their district and have been in discussion with the nonprofit on how to get that accomplished.

The funds for the project will be raised through a community-wide fundraising effort and the writing of grants.

According to the nonprofit’s Executive Director, Matt O’Malley, the project has the potential to have an incredible impact on students and their schools. “Students who help run these farms get unique experiences that may lead to career paths in agriculture, education, nutrition, business management, or food services.

Not only that, but these farms produce a significant amount of fresh food for schools, in some cases completely eliminating the school’s
need to purchase sub-par lettuce from outside sources. The student-grown food is then introduced to the lunchroom which can change the eating habits and health of entire student populations.”

Uniontown’s farm classroom was delivered last week and is expected to be online in February. The fundraising campaign to bring the farm classroom to Fort Scott will begin immediately, hoping that theirs could be up and running by the spring semester.

For more information, visit the nonprofit’s Facebook page or website at
Matt O’Malley / picture attached /
Executive Director
Community Green Farms
c) 620-249-6353, o) 620-404-2812
[email protected]

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