\u00a0From the classroom to the greenhouse For Eric Wolf and Bob Yamnicky\u2019s seventh and eighth grade science classes at Shelton Intermediate School, knowing what goes into the food they eat every day is important. So important that this year they have been exploring the world of growing their own vegetables through the use of aquaponics. According to theaquaponicsource.com, the simplest definition for this innovative type of farming is the combination of aquaculture, the raising of fish, and hydroponics, the soil-less growing of plants, into one system. The fish waste serves as an organic fertilizer for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. Wolf said the idea to teach his classes about the alternative to traditional gardening stemmed from his own curiosity and theirs about exactly what ingredients go into their food. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=94t1gbCFZxM&feature=youtu.be \u201cIt\u2019s definitely been a trial-and-error learning process for us all,\u201d said Wolf. \u201cI\u2019ve done my own research and then when I teach that to the kids they take it a step further and ask questions. A lot of the time when they ask a question that I am unsure of myself, I tell them, \u2018There\u2019s only one way to find out,\u2019 and we tweak things or experiment to find an answer.\u201d Students periodically enjoy salads made up of vegetables they have played a part in growing, and Wolf said they very are proud of that. Wolf\u2019s class has grown several types of lettuce as well as an aquaponic radish, which is currently their favorite. Yamnicky said his classes are raising quail to help understand the full circle of farming. The class monitors the growth and hatching of the quail eggs while they remain in an incubator they have inside their lab, located conveniently close the school\u2019s community garden. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?v=MhgHKQuPoDc&feature=youtu.be \u201cWe take the waste from the quail and bury it in our community garden and it serves as a fertilizer,\u201d said Yamnicky. \u201cCome springtime when we turn the soil, the nutrients will be put back in here from a natural source. Any extra lettuce we grow we actually feed to the quail, so everything really comes full circle. It\u2019s much better than handing out a sheet of paper that says, \u2018Here is the food web.\u2019 We are actually saying, \u2018Here it is.\u2019\u201d Wolf and Yamnicky said the hands-on learning experience for the students has proven to be extremely valuable. \u201cObviously not everyone gets it, but a lot of them understand more than you would have expected and also take an interest in expanding on what we teach them. It\u2019s really great to watch,\u201d said Yamnicky. Wolf said the students have actively been working on their winter gardening plan, primarily through the use of the greenhouse they constructed themselves, with some help from both Wolf and Yamnicky. With responsibilities split up among 130 students, Wolf said, there is never a shortage of helping hands eager to get inside the greenhouse, partly because they also get to enjoy the vegetables they harvest. Wolf said the class\u2019s ultimate goal is to be able to provide food for the cafeteria. \u201cWe haven\u2019t made much progress toward that goal yet, but it still is a big goal for us,\u201d said Wolf. He added that he has a meeting with the school\u2019s food provider, Sodexo, at the end of January. \u201cI\u2019m hoping to have a solid plan in place following the meeting,\u201d said Wolf.