Growth in clean water for people – and lettuce farmed at school

1. United States

Public schools around the country are using hydroponics as a tool both to teach the values of sustainable agriculture and to help feed land-scarce communities. In the Morgan Hill Unified School District in Santa Clara County, California, a Freight Farms shipping container in a school parking lot produces enough lettuce to satisfy 60% to 70% of the district’s salad bar needs. Nutrition director Michael Jochner calculated the $150,000 investment would pay for itself in 7 ½ years, and he’s working on expanding the program. Freight Farms, a Boston-based startup, says there are currently 16 K-12 schools around the country employing its system.

In New York, a nonprofit called Teens for Food Justice installs hydroponics in schools with a focus on food insecurity and education. Students partner with faculty farm managers to tend crops throughout the year.

Why We Wrote This

In our progress roundup, a basic but precious resource around the world – clean water – is also growing as a medium for raising fresh vegetables. And in both Bangladesh and New Zealand, concerted efforts to protect flora and fauna are paying off.

“It’s designed to be a totally immersive experience for these kids, from how you grow the food to why we need to eat differently to why we need to structure our systems around food production differently,” said Katherine Soll, director of TFFJ. “We have the ability to empower a group of leaders with an entirely new way of looking at our food system.” TFFJ’s newest farms will be in Denver and Miami.
Source: Civil Eats

2. United Kingdom

A London-based physicist has written 1,750 Wikipedia articles about scientists and engineers whose contributions had been overlooked, adding to a more equitable online knowledge base. Jessica Wade received the British Empire Medal for “services to gender diversity in science” in 2019.


Physicist Jessica Wade at an award ceremony in London, Sept. 19, 2019.

Dr. Wade, who works in a physics lab at Imperial College London, gained notoriety for her clashes with Wikipedia editors over who is worthy of an article. Her entry on African American nuclear chemist Clarice Phelps – who was involved in the discovery of tennessine, the 117th element on the periodic table – was hotly debated and subject to repeated deletions and repostings before Dr. Wade won out. She has published papers on inequality in academia and wrote a children’s book about nanoscience last year. Dr. Wade says the best way to remedy underrepresentation of women in STEM fields is for educators to give the next generation of female scientists the tools and mentorship they need to cultivate their interests – including representation in a resource as widely used as Wikipedia.

“Wikipedia is a really powerful way to give credit to people who, for a long time, have been written out of history,” she said. “Having people know who you are means you get more opportunities.”
Sources: The Washington Post, NBC News

Previous ArticleNext Article