High school science teacher Patrick Nightingale visited Waterman Farms on OSU campus with a group of students from Kipp Academy in Columbus.

Teaching students where food comes from

By Matt Reese and Dale Minyo

GrowNextGen is partnering with The Ohio State University to bring more outdoor learning opportunities to students in Ohio, including a visit from three groups of students in September. Patrick Nightingale is a high school science teacher from Kipp Academy in Columbus. He also helps write and uses GrowNextGen curriculum.

“I’ve been able to use a lot of those materials on GrowNextGen’s website in my own classroom and they’ve been amazing materials. GrowNextGen actually merged my passion with a purpose. I was able to use a lot of my passion in writing the curriculum that was aligned with the purpose of students learning about agriculture. That was one thing I’ve been looking for,” Nightingale said. “One of the reasons I’ve always loved teaching environmental science is because agriculture is embedded into one of our units. I find agriculture to be one of the most accessible forms of science that students can get into.”

Nightingale grew up around farms and has been surprised to see how few students know about the origins of their food.

“A shocking number of students don’t recognize or know where our food comes from and to me that was a little bit concerning,” he said. “So that’s kind of been my mission: to start teaching where food comes from, realizing how special and fragile our system is and doing what we can to get more students and more people involved in that system. It can be really scary for some students to learn where their food really does come from, but overall, it tends to inspire students to want to know more and want to be more involved.”

GrowNextGen is funded by Ohio soybean farmers and their checkoff.

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