APPHARVEST: Planting Seeds to Feed the Future
AppHarvest and Blue Grass Community Foundation began their partnership in 2021 through Appalachia Rises, a collaborative flood-relief effort for Eastern Kentucky.
The partnership between BGCF and AppHarvest deepened when AppHarvest established a corporate charitable foundation at the Community Foundation.
Now, AppHarvest is, yet again, investing in Eastern Kentucky – and Central Appalachia – only this time, in its school systems. Launched in 2018, the AppHarvest AgTech Education program introduces high school students to controlled environment agriculture and provides them with STEM-based entrepreneurial experience through high-tech farm classrooms.
Partnering with schools to provide complementary ag-tech education programming, the AppHarvest Foundation helps launch farm classrooms housed in shipping containers retrofitted with hydroponic growing systems. Student farmers get experience in growing up to 5,000 plants at a time from seed germination through harvest, as well as gaining an understanding of modern farming as a business.
“The AppHarvest Foundation AgTech Education Program is a key element in fostering interest in high-tech indoor farming as we work to create an ag-tech ecosystem in Appalachia,” said Amy Samples, AppHarvest’s VP of community outreach. “Early on, our team knew we wanted to invest in the region to grow the farmers of tomorrow, building on the many existing and outstanding community and education programs focused on creating a more resilient Appalachian economy. The program supported by the AppHarvest Foundation introduces new pathways for students who may not have considered a career in agriculture.”
There are currently 10 AgTech Education Program partner locations throughout the state, and the student farmers participating in the program harvest the produced greens, which are typically used in school cafeterias, donated to local food banks, or sold to local restaurants by student ag-tech entrepreneurs.
To learn more about the AppHarvest Foundation, visit appharvestfoundation.org.
To learn more about establishing your business’ charitable foundation at BGCF, contact Lisa Adkins, President/CEO, at [email protected]