Thanks to a recent $20,000 donation from The GIANT Company, Harrisburg University was able to donate 150 heads of lettuce – grown in the University’s research greenhouse – to Downtown Daily Bread Tuesday.
The GIANT Company’s donation, made to HU in November, allowed the University to complete renovations to the hydroponic growing environment within the Harrisburg University – Steelton Highspire High School Research Greenhouse.
HU regularly donates its harvested produce to University students, the Steelton-Highspire food distribution, Hanna’s Pantry, and the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. And the recent renovations, which have improved the design and overall layout of the greenhouse, allowed HU to expand its donation footprint to include Downtown Daily Bread.
Full hydroponic production at HU’s facility allows more than 1,100 leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, herbs, etc.) to be growing at any given time at the greenhouse, said Dr. Rachel Fogle, HU Biological Sciences Professor who heads the University’s hydroponics and aquaponics programs. With a staggered production plan, and a seed-to-harvest time of 40 days, approximately 375 heads can be harvested each week for donation.
HU students gain valuable hands-on experience working within the research greenhouse, and they get to see the difference their work makes within the community, Fogle said.
“We have an awesome team of undergraduate student interns,” Fogle said. “They engage in all aspects of greenhouse maintenance and management – including cleaning, seeding, transplanting, integrated pest management, harvesting, and troubleshooting along the way – providing them authentic learning experiences that show them how to impact food security.”
ABOUT HARRISBURG UNIVERSITY
Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Harrisburg University is a private nonprofit university offering bachelor and graduate degree programs in science, technology, and math fields. For more information on the University’s affordable demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, call 717-901-5146 or email, Connect@HarrisburgU.edu. Follow on Twitter (@HarrisburgU) and Facebook (Facebook.com/HarrisburgU).