Seeding the Future: Creating a Green Collar Workforce Through Learning about Indoor Urban Farming Technologies and Alternative Energy Sources
This project develops an interdisciplinary and transformative in- and out of-school science education and technology program that engages high school aged youth and their teachers in 1) the production of food using hydroponics, and 2) the use of green energy technologies (solar, and wind) to power hydroponic systems. This distinctive program integrates food production, a novel model of parental outreach, a focus on green career development, and an authentic reason (growing their own produce for selling at a market) for learning how and why to use alternative energy technologies. The project creates an approach to sustainability in which students not only give back to their community, but are in a position to provide a continuous revenue stream to the school in order to operate their indoor urban garden indefinitely. The partnership with the Boston Youth Environmental Network provides youth opportunities for summer internships with green energy companies. The project builds upon a learning progressions model in which youth gradually learn about complex scientific systems and economic principles throughout their years in the program. Rather than a onetime experience, youth are engaged in a long-term experience building their knowledge and skills regarding science, economics, and college preparedness. This project has the potential to impact thousands of students informally and over 2000 students (in classrooms) directly with a minimum of 60 students receiving focused and in depth learning experiences during the summer and on weekends during the school year.