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Chicago Students Learn To Be Hydroponic Urban Farmers at Schurz Food Science Lab

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The chef and marketing executive’s idea for a high school urban farming program started as a way to prove a restaurant concept.

By Erica Gunderson
WTTW
March 9, 2017

Excerpt:

Friedman: Yields from the Food Lab are often large enough to allow the program to donate herbs and microgreens to a nearby food pantry. And like any farm, increasing yields is a constant focus –whether it’s by adjusting light or fertilizer, testing different grow media or developing a prototype for a rotating growing system. For senior Nathaniel Colon, working in the Food Lab has allowed him to apply some of the problem-solving techniques he’s learned in his pre-engineering classes.

Nathaniel Colon, Schurz senior: We thought of a triangle system that would have different layers. It would be a mist system, it would have LEDs under the trays, so you can access it easier. There’ll be a pipe coming through the middle so it can all recycle back to the reservoir.

Friedman: Elsewhere in the lab, senior Veronica Burgo is growing tomato plants in the Food Computer, an agriculture technology platform developed by MIT to determine and share optimal growing conditions.

Veronica Burgo, Schurz senior: There were some astronauts that went out into space and took some tomato seeds and they were kind enough to let us use two packs of their seeds. We have four samples in here at the current moment, and we’re trying to compare them against what we have in some of our other systems, like our lettuce systems to see if anything changed within the genetics of the plant.

Read the complete article here.