Apples and coffee!
Students in food deserts learn to grow produce with a water-efficient aquaponics system, inspiring a more sustainable plant-based diet.
Mavis, from McCloud, California, smiles at his mother and looks into his brown lunch bag. He sees the usual instant ramen, fruit snacks, and juice box, forces a smile of gratitude. Then takes his granola bar and walks out the door to the bus stop. The bus arrives with a screeching stop, he trudges up the steps feeling no alleviation from his drowsiness. The bus arrives at school and Mavis feels hungry, tired, and the school day has yet to begin. The bell rings snapping him out of his thoughts of slumber as he tries to focus during his science class. Mavis’s teacher notices his drowsiness, a common issue among her students, due to the food desert they live in. She gives Mavis a fresh carrot from their new aquaponics system to eat and within minutes Mavis feels a little more energetic.
A for Aquaponics is a community wide system that has the potential to inspire future generations. By learning about aquaponics in agriculture at an elementary school age, children will have more contact with produce than they otherwise would have in food deserts. They will have first hand education about how aquaponics works and how it reduces agricultural water and land use. The system has the potential to be expanded to be used at home or in larger scale farming within the community. The aquaponic systems use 85-90% less water than traditional farming systems and agriculture in California uses 80% of water in the state. The more classrooms that participate in A for Aquaponics, the more we can benefit the residents in the food desert and decrease agriculture’s water need
In order to educate communities how to grow their own produce we will build A for Aquaponics kits to market to elementary schools. These kits will include: plans for teachers spanning grades K - 5, water pump, aeration device, along with instructions to buy plant beds, fish tanks, and grow lights. Allowing the schools to buy some equipment reduces shipping costs and provides freedom on the size needed for their classrooms. To obtain further funding and reduce the price of these kits, we will apply for a money through Michelle Obama’s, “Let’s Move!” campaign aimed at improving kids’ health. If A for Aquaponics wins the TFF challenge we will use the prize money to grant McCloud Elementary with an Aquaponics kit to observe their use and implement any needed changes to the rest of the kits.
Millions are without access to produce in a world of plenty. Our mission at A for Aquaponics is to help bring fresh produce to school children and their families by giving teachers the tools to start their own aquaponics system in their classrooms. These systems will help the students establish a better understanding of where food comes from and benefit the community in providing fresh fruits and vegetables for their tables. A for Aquaponics strives to reduce the staggering 13.5 million Americans living in areas where fresh produce can't be found and reduce the intensive water demand of traditional agriculture. We believe that this mission starts in the classroom and extends across the community.