Garden of Eden Indoor Farming
Summer 2022 Seattle Student Gardening
This program has been submitted as part of a grant proposal for summer school in Seattle.

Young Adult Training Programs — Eduponics

Our "Eduponics™" program is designed for schools from junior high through college. It introduces students to hydroponic farming in the context of a laboratory as small as a bookcase all the way up to a commercial scale business that can supply the school's own needs or be a real-world experience in business and agriculture programs. Training can lead to careers in this emerging field and in related support industries.

We work in concert with schools, local non-profit organizations and private entrepreneurs seeking to increase access to healthy, fresh, locally grown produce. Eduponics provides equipment, curriculum and teacher training, plus optional ongoing consultation and system maintenance, depending on the needs of the individual school.
 

About Eduponics

Eduponics.org
We teach hydroponic gardening to young adults 16 to 21 as part of a curriculum that considers diet, nutrition, food production and distribution, technology, business development, marketing and sales, all in the context of observed inequalities and how socio-economic development and status affect food distribution and well-being in a system. We work with individuals, entrepreneurs or non-profit organizations interested in addressing issues of food production and equitable distribution in the context of worldwide and localized hunger, sometimes called food deserts.

Students will come away with an understanding of possible solutions to problems in contemporary food system and ways they might participate therein, as well as with some practical skills in gardening and food handling.

Our training program is "STEAM" based, the usual STEM acronym to which we add "(A)griculture" by which we mean a broad array of communication skills that build awareness of our indoor urban gardening objectives. We have worked with both certified and uncertified non-profit partners and have concentrated in programs of re-engagement of disaffected students who are restarting their education or careers and on issues affecting immigrants.

We draw upon our own long experience and that of our sponsoring organizations, which are ethnically diverse and community based. We attempt to address several objectives.

  • Academic Learning: We do this by requiring use of scientific method, technical evaluation, engineering (choosing) solutions, communication of results and applied mathematics.
  • Social Emotional Learning and Enrichment: We do this by taking a team approach to laboratory and experimental tasks and reporting by consensus.
  • College and Career Readiness (CCR): We do this by requiring students to maintain a journal of activities with regular entries pertaining to these very questions, identifying how they are progressing toward academic and career goals. These journals will be published on line as they occur and as part of a summary report.

Our basic program is designed to fit into traditional 10-15 week academic terms, or it can be configured for other time frames continue for eight weeks. Equipment must be ordered and delivered with up to six weeks lead time.

Regarding stated specific goals, the project

  • Utilizes culturally specific and responsive approaches.
  • Collects daily attendance.
  • Willing to administer an asset-based exit survey.
  • Engaged in programming for a minimum of five to fifteen hours weekly.
Standard program plan: 8 weeks, 4 days per week, 4 hours per day. Adjustable. Online participation in some activities is possible by individual arrangement, except for laboratory activities.

The local program host must provide floorspace. The minimum configuration is 600 square feet.

Recruitment

Each of our partner organizations will distribute information about the program to its constituency. We anticipate this will reach several thousand households. We will request PSA time on local radio and publicize in neighborhood news organs and on affiliated websites.

Instruction

We operate on a mastery-learning model, and each student's activity will be tracked with respect to specific skills attempted and mastered.

Language

We currently provide curricular tools in English; we anticipate having a Spanish curriculum in 2023, and we can already supply Spanish interpretation. The presence of interpreters is encouraged—to the extent that floor space allows and does not impact the experience of other learners.

Benefits

We anticipate that participants will benefit in the following ways. By working in teams they will gain appreciation for skills of others. By having specific objectives they will learn future orientation. By having a reporting requirement they will acquire a sense of achievement. By earning a Certificate of Completion.

Budget

A budget can be developed quickly for any school or other group desiring to train others in this technology.

Multi-culturalism

The project team is culturally diverse and is drawn from a professional organization that has agreed to provide teaching and support for this project at discounted rates. We apply the principles of affirmative action in the selection of staff and management. Our principals worked together for decades and have strong personal commitments to fair and open hiring. Several past projects have been based in ethnic communities affected by food deficits, both economic and cultural. As a group we have individually or collectively worked with minority youth to teach work skills, adaptive and collaborative behavior, and intercultural understanding. The team brings decades of experience dealing with youth and education.

Programs led or managed by principals have included

  • re-engagement of disaffected youth who have been subject to so-called zero-tolerance exclusion from schools and related family issues
  • young adult leadership (in English and Spanish) for secondary and community college students social responsibility awareness training related to urban food supply and distribution
  • adaptation of hydroponic growing to Asian-Pacific diet items
  • introduction of hydroponics into dietary habits of immigrant cultures

Origins

Our roots are in the Pacific Northwest. Our partners, affiliates and advisers include Latino Educational Training Institute, a predominantly hispanic-oriented non-profit organization 501(c)(3) Maxine Mimms Academy, a historically black-oriented non-profit organization 501(c)(3) Indoor Farm Collaborative, a non-profit community organization in Puget Sound Blackdot, a community organization promoting African-American economic growth Africatown Land Trust, a Seattle organization developing land-based institutions

Covid-19

We have and will continue to utilize applicable policies to prevent contagion, including masking and extra hygiene as required. We also note that due to the food-handling aspects of our activities, both required and voluntary, we are probably more attuned to these matters than most other projects.
 

Sample Curriculum: Introduction to Hydroponics

Session 1
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of topics in urban vertical gardening with associated readings and video presentations on gardening generally and hydroponics specifically. Introductory discussion of diet, nutrition, social issues of diet and nutrition, potential for urban gardening in context of changing economy and inequality.
Laboratory: Personal and industrial hygiene; exposure to plant propagation by seeding, cutting and implantation.
Session 2
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of microgreens production. Seeding, sprouting, hydration. Discussion of social issues associated with diet and nutrition.
Laboratory: Hydration, quality assurance.
Session 3.
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of leafy greens production.
Laboratory: Equipment preparation; seeding, sprouting, hydration; introduction to plant nutrition; measurement techniques.
Session 4.
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of vine crop production.
Laboratory: Measurement, seeding, sprouting, hydration; quality assurance.
Session 5.
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of microgreens production. Seeding, sprouting, hydration. Discussion of career opportunities.
Laboratory: Production monitoring, harvest and distribution to be arranged.
Session 6.
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of microgreens production. Seeding, sprouting, hydration.
Laboratory: Production monitoring, harvest and distribution to be arranged.
Session 7.
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of microgreens production. Seeding, sprouting, hydration.
Laboratory: Production monitoring, harvest and distribution to be arranged.
Session 8.
Lecture-demonstration-discussion of microgreens production. Seeding, sprouting, hydration.
Laboratory: Harvest and distribution to be arranged; cleanup, preparation and storage of equipment.
Session may be defined as any period from a week to as little as an hour or a few minutes, depending on the context of the program. In abbreviated programs, video may be substituted for lectures, and laboratory exercises may be replaced by demonstrations. The course may thus also be presented as a demonstration or recruitment tool.
Instruction
We operate on a mastery-learning model, and each student's activity will be tracked with respect to specific skills attempted and mastered. The program will be given in English; the presence of interpreters is encouraged—to the extent that floor space allows and does not impact the experience of other learners— but is not included in the budget. The course material and subject matter of the project are not currently available in any non-European language to the best of our knowledge. We are prepared to support interpretation in Spanish in cooperation with one of our partners. We would happily accommodate volunteer interpreters should that become desirable and feasible within the project space, but our scale and budget to not allow maintaining translation services prior to need.
Outcomes
We anticipate that participants will benefit in the following ways. By working in teams they will gain appreciation for skills of others. By having specific objectives they will learn future orientation. By having a reporting requirement they will acquire a sense of achievement. By earning a Certificate of Completion.