Hamilton, Ohio – There are lessons and then there is learning.
Fifth graders from St. Joseph Consolidated School have ancient civilization lessons on the Mayans: how they rotated crops, built irrigation systems to assist food growth and pioneered the slash-and-burn method to replenish their soil.
“This is a very eager group to learn,” said teacher Missy Biddinger. “They are like a bunch of little sponges. When you talk to a St. Joseph fifth grader about what a plant needs to grow, they’ll tell you, ‘Sun, soil and water.’ They’re right, but there’s more.”
This is a point Biddinger hopes to bring home in an experiential way when she brings her class to the Fitton Center Jan. 11 for the Celebrating Self luncheon featuring 80 Acres Farm CEO Tisha Livingston.
80 Acres is a food-science pioneer focusing on eco-friendly indoor farming. According to its website, Livingston’s company doesn’t “have tractors, silos, or even soil. Instead, we grow everything indoors—using robots and AI to do the heavy lifting, while the humans focus on growing the freshest food possible.”
“I think the way they grow food is going to blow our students’ minds,” Biddinger said. “It’s revolutionary.”
The fact St. Joe’s and 80 Acres headquarters are only a few blocks away from one another on South 2nd Street in Hamilton serves as inspiration.
“Having something nearby in our community that is changing the entire face of farming is a great opportunity for our kids to learn,” Biddinger said. “They can see world-changing work happening right here in their neighborhood. That’s important.” So is learning the human cost of farming.
“I think sometimes people take for granted where our food comes from.” Biddinger said. “It takes many people and a lot of hard work to get the food that we pick up so easily in the supermarket.” “I especially think about that when it comes to the waste I see in our cafeteria. If we can put a face on it, maybe we can help the students appreciate how difficult it is. If 80 Acres shows us how we can grow without waste, we can do our part to consume without waste too.”
The Fitton Center’s Celebrating Self series is the region’s premiere luncheon speaker program. The monthly events feature dynamic speakers on a variety of topics from September through April. Luncheons include live, local music before the program and a buffet lunch served by catering partner Two Women in a Kitchen. Tickets are $19 for Fitton Center members and $25 for non-members.
The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.
Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture