It’s happening. Schoolrooms right along with Schoolyards are becoming edible. Here are some heart-warming chronological pictures of what’s happening with Aquaponics (called AquaBioPonics) at Davis Bilingual Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona where Aquaponics USA built, installed and tested one of it’s FFGS-40 Food Forever™ Growing Systems over the Christmas break.
The above photo shows children gathered around Grow Beds #3 & #4 to see plants growing in the Hydroton. The Hydroton is the Grow Bed media that takes the place of dirt. It’s made from fired clay, and is produced by a German company named Okotau. It was originally designed for Hydroponics (hence the name Hydroton); but works great in Aquaponics systems. This photo also shows Florescent Grow Lights hanging over the Grow Beds. These lights are crucial to the growth of the plants. No light–no plant growth.
This next series of pictures shows the arrival of the fish that are also crucial to an Aquaponics System because the fish create the fish waste that is turned into valuable nutrients for the plants through a process known as the Nitrogen Cycle, which the Davis Bilingual Elementary school students are also learning about.
The teaching of Aquaponics begins with a renowned instructor, Dr. D’Silva, Consultant and Professor. Dr. D’Silva is CEO of Moura Enterprises and a worldwide reference in Integrated Sustainable, AquaBioPonics and AquafuelPonics Systems and Humanitarian programs. Right now he is being a Humanitarian and helping the Davis Elementary School Teaching Staff and students learn all about the Nitrogen Cycle, which runs these systems and how to cycle their Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing Systems, which he calls “AquaBioPonics”. Since Davis Elementary is a Bilingual school, you’ll notice that some of the words on the board are in Spanish. Below, Dr. D’Silva in the white shirt stands next to one of the Davis Bilingual Staff members.
As the learning continues, Dr. D’Silva instructs members of the Davis Bilingual Elementary School staff on how to use their Water Quality Kit that came with their Food Forever™ Aquaponics Growing System. Below, two of the staff members hold up tubes containing yellow-colored water indicating they have measured the Ammonia level in the system. The card with the colored rectangles on it is used to determine what that Ammonia level is. If the Ammonia goes up too high in an Aquaponics System, the system becomes toxic to both the plants and the fish. The third staff member standing next to Dr. D’Silva is the Librarian for Davis Bilingual Elementary, Cheryl Schrader-Gerken. She graciously welcomed us into her Library when we installed this system over Christmas and has taken on this amazing “Edible Schoolroom” Project (in her case it’s an Edible Library) with much joy and enthusiasm.
This final photo below shows an up-close look at how the Water Quality Kit that is included with a Food Forever™ Growing System works to help you keep your water quality at safe, healthy levels. The three tubes all contain the same water taken from the system. The fist tube tells you what your Ammonia levels are. The second tube tells you what your Nitrite levels are and the third tube tells you what your Nitrate levels are. To get lots of detailed information about Water Quality go to our Water Page and read all about it. You can also see all the fun and excitement that the students at Davis Bilingual Elementary School are having by visiting their facebook page at Gardening & AquaBioPonics at Davis Elementary.
We’ll be doing more posts on these “Edible Schoolrooms” in the near future as we return to see what’s happening at the other two schools where our Food Forever™ Growing Systems were installed. Those schools include Manzo Elementary and Drachman Montessori Elementary. So stay tuned.
And be sure to check out the two videos we recently posted to YouTube on our Aquaponics USA TV Channel where we show you the full installation of this very system at the Davis Bilingual Elementary School. It is Part 1 of a four-part series that shows these installations in the three Tucson Elementary Schools. Parts 1 & 2 are posted and Parts 3 & 4 are coming.
Until next time, GET GROWING!