USDA awards Nixa, Mo. school large grant to grow gardens project

John Thomas School of Discovery has been awarded the USDA’s Urban Agriculture and Innovative...
John Thomas School of Discovery has been awarded the USDA’s Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grant, which will result in $300,000 coming to the school to expand their tower gardens to a large greenhouse on the school grounds.(ky3)
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 2:47 PM CDT
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NIXA, Mo. (Edited News Release/KY3) - A project at a Nixa school to help feed those in need in Christian County received a big financial gift.

John Thomas School of Discovery has been awarded the USDA’s Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grant, which will result in $300,000 coming to the school to expand their tower gardens to a large greenhouse on the school grounds.

The grant will allow not only the school itself but the entire district to become a part of this project.

The main things the grant will allow are the following:

  • Increase food production through a large tower farm in a small urban space, ensuring a reliable source of local produce.
  • Facilitate an entrepreneurial project through internships for college students through Missouri State University.
  • Support continuing education about vertical farming nutrition, environmental impacts, and agricultural sustainability through post-internship oral presentations at the local college
  • Meet local food needs by assisting the Least of These with another source of fresh food.
  • Allow for more partnerships with various programs across the district to partner with JTSD to run the tower gardens.

JTSD is excited to be able to grow even more produce to supply their cafeteria needs and backpack program needs, as well as create a year-round consistent donation to Least of These Food Pantry.

This grant funding is for a formal greenhouse installation and Tower Farm build-out, as well as an outdoor classroom for the elementary school students, Supervised Agricultural Experience opportunities for Nixa High School’s FFA students, internships with MSU students, as well as other opportunities to expand the program in the coming months and years.

The district is raising more funds to complete the project, but this is the largest grant received for this project and will be a great step in expanding the program.

Photos attached are of the current greenhouse with the tower gardens the students are already working with. The construction of the larger greenhouse will take place later this school year.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com