The Sustainable World Action and Technology Team (SWATT) Global and its team conducted an introductory lecture on Oct. 28 about learning how to grow your food through the new hydroponic system they plan to implement in the student hales.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is growing plants without the use of soil. When installing a hydroponics system, a solution filled with all the essential nutrients a plant needs is used and is mixed with the water where the roots of the plants will touch, or have it pumped through a nutrient pump when it’s housed by a container or tank, according to greendesert.org.
Les Harper, the manager for SWATT Global, said one of the reasons they wanted to hold this event was to teach the students directly how to do the things they do in the Temple View Learning Garden.
“The garden is a wonderful place to go. [The] challenge is, a lot of students don’t know about it… so, we thought if we could somehow bring one of our projects to their living space, it would be a good way to initiate things and to spark interest for something important such as sustainability, in this case, hydroponics.”
SWATT worker and researcher Maria Evelyn Rosell shared that other than their goal of helping students learn more about growing food without soil, they wanted also to help them learn how to make a solution for the system.
“I want them to learn how to create a solution, providing nutrients that a plant needs such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, and other micronutrients. Each plant has a specific concentration of nutrients that they need, and they also have a specific pH level.”
Rosell will be holding workshops for the students every week. There will be two sessions per week, and each will last for 40-60 minutes. They will also start a certification program for anyone who is interested in learning more about hydroponics.
Benefits of a hydroponics system
Harper said being able to look outside your units and get some products to cook for your meals such as lunch is one of the benefits of establishing a hydroponics system in the hales. “Knowing that you’ve grown that food creates independence. Knowing that you’re eating nutritious food creates better health.”
One of the benefits from growing your food is being able to harvest your own produce and using it for your meals, explained Rosell. She also said students would be able to learn hands-on. “They’re not only observing it, but they will do it – they will apply what they learn… You’re not only seeing it, but you’re also experiencing it.”
Judemench Casinto, a junior from the Philippines studying accounting, said she heard about the event through an email sent out by Hale 6 and shared that she always wanted to have her own garden. “I own an agricultural piece of land back home in the Philippines and [I] plan to have a farm.”
She expressed her desire to live a self-sufficient life led by her hope of owning her very own farm or garden. “The idea of growing vegetables in your backyard or inside your house is awesome, especially if you don’t have so much space and if you don’t have a piece of land that you can grow your plants with. You can grow it in your backyard or even your rooftop, and that saves you a lot of space.”
Harper expressed that if one day, one of the students who attended the workshops and lectures has their own family and gets asked by their kids if they could have their private garden, and they could reply, “You know when I was in college, we learned hydroponics. We’re going to build a hydroponics garden and do it ourselves,” then his goals were achieved.
“We’re a generation away from starving because in first world countries, we’ve lost the knowledge to know how things grow, and if we can bring the knowledge of hydroponics back to people, we’re going to sustain ourselves and keep going.”
To learn more about hydroponics and how they will implement it in the hales, you can visit these sites: