(COLUMBIA, MO) – The Columbia Public Schools Foundation (CPSF) announced its
latest 2016 grant for a program to bring indoor gardens to every Columbia Public
Schools (CPS) elementary school.
The Gardening Inside Our Schools program will provide entire elementary school
buildings the opportunity to learn about and experiment with aeroponic gardens, a
gardening system that does not use soil and instead uses a nutrient solution for roots.
The $18,270 CPSF grant provides one garden tower aeroponic system for each
elementary school. The towers will be placed in school lobbies, media centers or
cafeterias, all spaces where each student in the building gets to experience it.
“This grant will impact many students by allowing classes and students to learn about
sustainable alternative growing methods and experimentation,” said Mike Szydlowski,
science coordinator for CPS. “Garden towers grow plants 30 percent larger and three
times faster than traditional growing methods, all while using 98 percent less water. This
is a critical concept as these students will likely have to address the world’s food and
water issues in their lifetimes. We are quite grateful for the support the Columbia
Public Schools Foundation provides for our students and teachers.”
Szydlowski will work with teachers to create educational activities, lessons, and contests
related to the gardening system. In one contest, schools will compete for growing the
most pounds of tomatoes in a month. But there is a catch to the contest – since there
are no bees to pollinate the tomato flowers, students will have to pollinate their plants
“The Gardening Inside Our Schools grant hit so many marks,” said Sally Silvers, CPSF
board member. “The best part, for me, was that since there are no bees in the buildings,
the students run around like little bees pollinating the tomato plants with Q-tips! What a
The Columbia Public Schools Foundation is a private foundation established by
community volunteers dedicated to the enrichment of public education through
community giving. The Foundation has funded projects in every school, allocating more
than $1 million to enhance education in the Columbia Public Schools. CPSF is
celebrating 20 years of supporting teachers and students.