Research: Feeding a Community Through Hydroponics on the Science Barge
Awards: Leason Ellis Team Project Award WESEF 2022, Greenlight Awards Semi-Finalist, Participant in Westlake Science Fair (2021)
Mentor: Joel Rodriguez and Jason Bonet
Research Location: Groundwork HV Science Barge
In recent years, developments in hydroponic systems have proven to be a different, faster, and easier way to grow vegetables. (Janes, 2019). Hydroponic systems serve the purpose of growing plants without soil. The Science Barge is a floating environmental education center on the Hudson River that has been serving Yonkers since 2008. Fresh vegetables that are grown on the Science Barge include tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, parsley, cilantro, basil and kale. All of these plants are grown hydroponically. This study was conducted to determine how many people the harvest from the Science Barge could feed. Our assessment uses the recommended percentage daily value for each nutrient as its basis. Humans get many of our nutrients from vegetables and fruits. Therefore, the study's main focus is, how many people can a hydroponic system feed, based on the recommended daily value for each nutrient? The plants were grown using four systems: the Nutrient Film Technique system, the Dutch bucket system, the aquaponics system, and the tower system. Each system was checked weekly to make sure it was functioning correctly and had the right amount of nutrients. When each plant was ready to be harvested, the weight data was collected. After that, the recommended daily value of each vegetable was collected from the Food and Drug Administration. Based on the daily recommended intake of nutrients, the food grown on the Science Barge can feed 2,256 people from the spring and summer harvests. We learned that on average each plant harvested weighed around 20,000 grams. This research is important because other scientists will be able to conduct more studies using the information we developed.
About this Scientist: My name is Malak Aljumaey and I am a senior at Saunders Trades and Technical High school, I will be starting nursing at Adelphi University starting next semester. I got my nursing passion through my youngest sister, Maria. She grew up in hospitals which meant I was always visiting, the more I spent with Maria the more I got closer to her nurses. Seeing them take care of my sister is what sparked interest for me to do the same. I am proud to say that I am the first person in my family to attend college and I can’t wait for what my education brings me. I hope to be that change to people and continue my research journey through nursing.