The Environmental Protection Agency has given Mesa Community College, Mesa, Ariz., a grant for just over $80,000. The college plans to use the money to generate interest and education for various new agriculture techniques that are well-suited for Mesa.

The college's director of Urban Horticulture Program, Peter Conden, said that there was a lack of interest in agricultural studies when he began with the program, but now, the Innovative Center for Urban Agriculture will create interest in the program, Trevor Godfrey reported for the East Valley Tribune.

The money will help teach students how to grow food in an urban setting, whether it be a community garden or in their backyards. Conden wants to focus teachings on aquaponics, a process that combines hydroponics with traditional agriculture to make an animal and plant system that provides nutrients for both animals and plants, Godfrey reported.

“This environmental education effort will teach employable skills to students and enable them to become environmental stewards,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest, in a press release. “The hands-on experience that Mesa Community College students will receive is unparalleled and will serve as a model for similar institutions nationwide.”

Click here to read more.