Hello, I'm Dan. I'm no farmer by any stretch of the imagination but that doesn't mean I can’t be growing my own food. I don’t own a field; I own two Ikea bins plumbed together and some fish but that allows me to grow my own food easily at home. I've been associated with Farm Urban for the past two years though an enrichment session ran with my school and over those years I was introduced into the Urban Farming, growing food locally in a city environment, making Food Miles a non existent issue. We do this by using Aquaponics, the process of farming fish (aquaculture) and growing plants in water (hydroponics) in one integrated, closed loop system.
In an ecosystem there is no waste, it’s all recycled. One organism’s waste is another’s treasure and we use this to increase the efficacy of the system. Waste produced by the fish is converted into nutrients for the plants by bacteria that are present in any real life ecosystem. This morning we introduced this concept to a bunch of year 9s from schools around Liverpool and the Wirrell though a workshop at FACTLab.
We first threw them in at the deep end, giving them the parts to build their own system and seeing if they could work it out. Prompting them if they became stuck but encouraging them to work it out independently. This was a theme that ran throughout the day with the students (and me) working how to arrange electrical components into a rough circuit for a solar power system to power the Aquaponics.
After this the groups then split up, working at different work stations. One with design, discussing what makes a product and what needs to be taken into account during the design process. Another with electronics, talking about etching your own circuit boards to make your own circuit. One with an engineer doing calculations associated with solar power, how you can work out how much power you will need and how much you will get. The final was Computer coding, how you can control the circuit using coding to ensure you circut is doing what it needs to do when it needs to do it.
Overall it was an enjoyable day and a pleasure to be able to help host.
FACTLab is open Tue-Sun FACT until 31 August. Read more about how you can get involved here.
Find out more about Farm Urban here.