Project Description: A “Do It Yourself” hydroponics system was created to grow
vegetables to assist the Heartside community. Students designed and
built the system. Students also started all of the plants from seed
and explored many different options for monitoring the health of the
plants. The goal was to create a successful system that produced
vegetables in a large enough quantity to be donated to charities
around the school, adding to their free meals for the homeless.
Students built a fully operational constant-flow system that can
handle up to 26 plants. The system was set up to grow one type of
vegetable at a time, but is able to be modified to handle up to four
different types of plants.
Fostering Lifelong Stewardship: Many Catholic Central students come from fairly privileged
backgrounds. This project opened their eyes to the plight of community
members they might otherwise overlook. This project also helped them
realize what it takes to make fresh produce available in areas where
it isn’t easily grown. Students learned that they can leverage their
skills to affect change. Several students actually expressed interest
in building their own systems at home so that they could grow their
own food. This project also aligns with the inherent Catholic Social
Teachings that are vital to the school community.
Partners: Disher, God's Kitchen, and Kent Career Technical Center
Project Description: The main goals of this second year of our project were to expand
our functional knowledge of hydroponics and to help out more people
who are in need of our charity. Our class successfully improved our
hydroponics system in order to grow fresh produce for God’s Kitchen in
the Heartside District, near our school. We used feedback from our
community partners to increase the quantity and variety of plants
grown in our system.
We began with a small-scale system and only a few plants. Our
system is currently fully functional (we’ve had four successful
harvests this year, as compared with one semi-successful harvest last
year). We made upgrades and modifications to be much more efficient
and more environmentally friendly. It currently has temperature and
humidity monitoring for the health and well-being for our plants,
which we lacked last year. We have also added air circulation to our
system this year. We needed to change our tubing due to algae growth.
Several students successfully incorporated vertical grow lines into
our system so we can grow peas and other climbing or vine-like plants.
Fostering Lifelong Stewardship: This project has been very eye-opening for our students. We can
see the line for God’s Kitchen from our classroom window. Our students
are able to actually see the faces of the people they are helping.
They realized that it is not difficult to help people and the
environment at the same time. I expect that their new knowledge about
how a hydroponics system works, coupled with the realization of the
positive impact they can have on others, will propel them forward in
service and stewardship in their communities. This project also
reinforces the Catholic Social Teachings on which our school community