Molly Ahmed ‘20 wrote about her experience building an indoor farm and how it helped her and her classmates apply concepts they studied to a real-life farm system.
“After learning about the environmental, economic, and social issues facing the current agricultural system, Grade 11 Green Industries students were challenged to build a prototype of an indoor farm. We began by delving into the practice of sustainable farming, including hydroponics, aquaponics, vertical farming, and sustainable soil-based farming. We started to brainstorm possible designs for our projects and found that most designs were centered around hydroponic or soil-based systems as we concluded that these were the most practical way to build an indoor farm.
“After completing a final design for our prototypes, we started the building process in the newly built Innovation Lab. We started sawing wood, setting up water pumps and LED systems and learning new skills we wouldn’t have normally acquired. As problems arose with our designs, we were encouraged to think creatively on ways to solve these issues with materials available in the Innovation Lab. Solutions ranged anywhere from using a glue gun to changing a large part of our initial design. It allowed us all to improve on our problem solving and creative thinking skills, not to mention collaboration and other group skills.
“After we finished the building portion of the project, our class held a fair that was open for staff to visit our farms. We approached this fair with a marketing pitch, explaining how our farms work and how it is a solution to the ongoing agricultural issues. The fair gave us a chance to experience how an entrepreneur would present a new prototype.
“This project was an amazing opportunity for our class to apply concepts we studied to a real-life farm system. While we found challenges along the way, it was great to see the interesting ideas and designs that my peers had, and to watch their designs turn into a finished product. The hands-on aspect to all projects in this class has allowed me to apply my knowledge in more interesting and useful ways than a written test. I feel very appreciative that I was able to be a part of this project as it has enriched my knowledge by multitudes.”