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Charleston County School District (CCSD) will partner with local hydroponic farming company Vertical Roots to serve its lettuce in salads starting Wednesday, Feb. 24. Students at Chicora Elementary School tasted the non-GMO lettuce with Vertical Roots staff and the district’s Office of Nutrition Services on Thursday, a press release said. 

“CCSD knows that students, communities, and farmers win when schools implement farm to school practices,” district dietitian Kerrie Hollifield said in the release. “This partnership with Vertical Roots is going to allow students to eat local salads every day of the week. We plan as a district to be the gold standard of supporting local agricultural programs and building vibrant communities.”

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Vertical Roots grows its lettuce at indoor hydroponic farms in Charleston and Columbia 365 days a year, distributing it to more than 1,200 grocery stores across the Southeast. All CCSD schools (elementary, middle and high) will serve Vertical Roots lettuce in salads at cafeterias starting on Wednesday. 

“The partnership with Charleston County School District is very important to Vertical Roots and our mission,” Vertical Roots co-founder Andrew Hare said in the release. “Our youth is our future. This will create a hyperlocal farm experience for students, and educate them on nutritional benefits of local produce as they better understand where their food comes from.”