Hydroponics Project Management Frame (PMF) Manchester Essex Regional High School Green Scholars Program Date of Last Revision: October 29, 2014 Student Project Leaders/writer of this grant: Justin Eichenberger Community Partner/Advisor: Mr. Gray Green Scholar Contact: Justin Eichenberger 978-290-9672 [email protected]
Green Team Director Contact: Eric Magers 978-525-6469 [email protected]
Inquiry: How can we provide a simplistic yet effectively environmentally friendly garden that will ultimately provide healthy and organic food for our students? Mission Statement: With a combination of trail & error along with experience & intuition, we aim to build and design a successful hydroponics garden that will provide a better option for cafeteria food. We intend to organically grow vegetables that will be more cost efficient, healthy, and ideally better-tasting for the purpose of benefiting the students and faculty at MERSD and to help supply food vegetables to various homeless shelters around the North Shore. Rationale: Currently, our school cafeteria receives food from an outdoor garden on school grounds. Although a seemingly great idea, at times the garden can be ineffective and poorly maintained. The garden also produces vegetables that students seem to find less-than appetizing. The cafeteria needs a better way to receive fresh vegetables. This can be achieved by a hydroponics garden. A major downside of our current system is that during the winter months, the gardens don’t grow anything. A hydroponics garden eliminates this problem because it can be operated anywhere at any time of year. We hope to provide fresh and organic vegetables for the school cafeteria and Action Incorporated that are also delicious. Ideally, this will also help the students to eat much healthier throughout the day. The best way to do this is to provide them with good-tasting food that they know is healthy and fresh. We would just like to help provide Action Inc. with healthy food that they can serve to the less fortunate. Feasibility Study: This garden can definitely be achieved with enough hard work. We have created an initial design of what it should look like and how it should function. We will keep designing new plans until we create the most efficient and successful garden. This will be done through a combination trial and error along with testing. SMART Goals: Create and design a hydroponics garden that can successfully grow vegetables and other plants. o Objective: Build a structure for the garden by researching and developing the most efficient system. From there, use trial and error to discover which system works best in our given environment. Then expand on that system to provide the best possible system. Use these vegetables in the cafeteria for students and faculty alike to eat.
o Objective: Serve our vegetables in school lunch by coordinating with cafeteria staff. We will have a list of options to grow and the faculty will select certain vegetables that they need. Eventually go all-organic. o Objective: Provide the healthiest possible vegetables by using organic nutrients and plant food. Donate 25% of all harvested vegetables to Action Incorporated Homeless Shelter located in Gloucester, MA. o Since we plan on producing an excess amount of fruits and/or vegetables, we would like to donate 25% of all vegetables to Action Incorporated Homeless Shelter. o http://actioninc.org/shelter.html o Along with helping the students and faculty at MERHS, we hope to implement many hydroponic systems to not only benefit our school, but also supply food to Action Incorporated. Milestones: Milestones Establish working system Grow first vegetable
Cafeteria serves our vegetables
Description We need to buy resources and materials in order to construct our first project When our first vegetable is finally taken off the plant, it will be our first step in achieving a goal. This will be one of the final steps in the process. When the students at MERHS are consuming our vegetables we will know that have been successful.
SWOT: Strengths Mr. Gray is extremely helpful and has a wide range of knowledge on hydroponics. We have a great environment to run this project.
Weaknesses We know relatively nothing about gardening or hydroponics.
Opportunities Increase the healthiness of all MERHS students and faculty diet.
Threats Gardening can go wrong very quickly very fast and once it is gone, it is very hard to get back.
Resources: We need some starter money in order to start building our first gardens. Key members include Mr. Gray and Mr. Magers because they both have important roles in the process. Mr. Gray is especially important in helping us learn about hydroponics and the best way to do it. We need a grant before this project can go anywhere.
Key Performance Indicators: The best way to measure our success will be how successful our garden is. The first step is going to be putting the garden in place. From there, the products of the garden will be our basis for progress. Then, we will be able to measure our vegetables based on consumer satisfaction from the students. If they like our food, we know our project has been successful. Vegetable Options: Beans Beetroot Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbages Capsicum Cauliflower Celery Cucumbers Leeks Lettuce Marrows Onions Peas Radish Spinach Silverbeet Sweetcorn Project Volunteer Plan: Run by a small group of students designated to this specific project. The students have an adult advisor/expert on hydroponics who is knowledgeable and passionate about the project. Administration approval: Yes Publicity: Yes! That is a huge part of what we do at the Manchester Essex Green Team. Our group of students is known for its knowledge and public education. We provide tours and information sessions to a variety of corporations and other school districts who are interested.
Budget Our plan is build to biggest and best possible hydroponics garden tower. We can only do this if we base our design off something. That is why we are including a Tower Garden® Growing System in our grant. This costs $500 and is what we will be basing our designs off. If we are given money to purchase one of these units, we can then use raw materials to make an even better garden tower on our own. The garden towers that we build will be stronger, bigger, more efficient, and made by students involved in the construction of the project. We also hope to
include a small wind turbine that will power the garden systems. With the implementation of this small wind turbine, the garden will run on 100% green energy. Tower Garden® Growing System (one unit = $500): https://www.towergarden.com/onlinestore/tower-garden-growing-system
Once we receive this garden tower in our school, students will design and build garden towers on their own using the list of materials provided. It is important to understand that the garden towers that the students make will be less expensive than the one-time unit that we hope to buy from towergarden.com. The towers that we build will not have many of the problems that come with this standard Tower Garden.
Tower Garden vs. Student-built units 1.) Constant watering- The Tower Garden doesn’t have constant watering. It is an intermittent watering system that stays on for a certain amount of time and then turns off for a certain amount of time. This causes the roots to dry and mold to grow. Not only this, but it causes salt build-up on the roots that kills the cells in the roots. When this occurs, the roots will eventually die and the plant along with it. Constant watering eliminates all these problems with a steady stream of water that is constantly keeping the roots moist. 2.) Modification – When we build our own we have the option to build a variety of structures to maximize productivity. We can change anything that we need to change in order to make the best unit. This can’t be done with a purchased unit because it is a standard unit that can’t be changed. 3.) Size- For $500, the Tower Garden lacks the height and width to produce substantial amounts of vegetables. Our units will be more efficient because they will be taller and have a wider base to maximize volume.
4.) Pump – The Tower Garden’s pump tends to be too strong and often times can damage the roots of the vegetables. Our homemade units eliminate this problem because we can interchange pumps and vary the strength and power of each. Materials list: (Per Unit)- About 20 units Materials Large Tank Overflow Catch Base Pump Water lines 6" PVC Tower (4-5') Metal support cage Hydro-Nitrogen Fertilizer Hydro-Nutrient Fertilizer pH meter Dissolved solids meter RockWool substrate Timer TOTAL COST (per unit)
Cost $40 $15 $40 $20 $35 $20 $15 $15 $90 $80 $10 $20 $400
Total Grant $: Unit/Item(s) TowerGarden (1) Homemade Hydroponic Units (20) 12-3 Outdoor Extension Cord (6-20 feet) Total Desired Amount ($)
Cost $500 (20)($400) = $8000 N/A $8,500