High school horticulture program receives an aquatic delivery

Sandwich-spawned trout head to the classroom on Martha's VIneyard.

A high school student pours an acclimated bucket of rainbow trout into the MVRHS aquaponic fish tank in the horticulture building Tuesday morning. — Photo by Sam Moore

About 100 young rainbow trout, hatched in Sandwich and aged at at the Island Grown Institute’s Thimble Farm, found themselves dumped Tuesday morning into an aquaponic tank at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

Matthew Brown delivered the trout as part of Island Grown Initiative’s Farm Hub Program. With assistance from John Wojkiektlo, high school horticulture teacher, the pair helped students transfer the trout from Mr. Brown’s truck to the high school’s aquaponic system, after giving the fish five minutes in buckets to acclimate the system’s water temperature.

Rainbow trout are slightly more difficult to raise than other common aquaculture species such as tilapia, according to Mr. Brown, but they make up for it by being tasty.

As the trout grow, they will produce nutrient-rich waste, which will be used as fertilizer in the spring, and as food for the plants being hydroponically grown in the school’s greenhouse. Eventually, the fish will end up on a dinner plate.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Matthew Brown delivered the trout as part of the Institute’s Island Grown Schools initiative. The trout came from the Island Grown Initiative’s Farm Hub Program. It also stated that the fish had been “conceived” in Sandwich, a word which in fact refers to pregnancy and not to the process by which fish are fertilized.