Aquaponics at MPS’ Vincent High School. (photo by MPS)
MPS hired agriculture instructor for first time in three decades to begin new program
Aquaponics, bees, a greenhouse and a ‘hoop house’ will be among the displays visitors can see Thursday during an open house for the new urban agriculture program at Milwaukee Public Schools’ Harold S. Vincent High School.
Vincent, which featured an agriculture focus years ago, is returning to its roots with a 21st-century focus. MPS hired an agriculture instructor for the first time in 30 years as it launched the program for the 2012-13 school year.
The new program connects agriculture with the school’s science and technology departments, offering students courses that cover: introduction to urban agriculture; veterinary science; biotechnology/biofuels; landscape and design; urban gardening/horticulture; aquaponics; greenhouse techniques; and botany. The program partners with two Milwaukee-based leaders in the urban agriculture field: Growing Power and Sweetwater Organics – along the Milwaukee Area Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
The Thursday open house runs from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. with a program at 9, featuring MPS Superintendent Gregory Thornton, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett along with representatives from Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and the Food and Beverage Manufacturing cluster at the Milwaukee 7 regional economic development group.
“Our young people deserve course options that pique their interest as well as expose them to and prepare them for diverse career possibilities,” Dr. Thornton said. “We’re thrilled to offer those options.” MPS career and technical education curriculum specialist Eric Radomski said the courses offer students a tremendous opportunity to explore urban agriculture “and experience the careers available in food and beverage manufacturing; food science and urban agriculture. It also helps our young people become more connected to and better understand the source of the food they eat.”