Hydroponic Garden Update by Charlie Walker ’21

Hydroponic Garden

In September 2017, Jarod Haley CB’20 came to us with an idea of building a hydroponic garden. We held a hackathon (a design challenge) where two groups designed prototypes for the structure. When the initial design challenge was completed,  Jarod, with the supervision of Dr. Vallery, Dr. Call, and Mr. Howard, chose a design which best resembled the structure he had in mind. After this process, we created a more in-depth, accurate prototype in early January 2018. From this point on, we stopped working on the project until the summer of 2018.

Over the summer of 2018, we, the sophomore EDI cohort, built the frame of  the structure. Throughout this process, we learned from our mistakes during this phase and solutions were found, enabling the frame to be built.

At the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Keon Tavakoli and I adopted the project as our own and are currently working on finishing this project, the acrylic piece that goes on top of the base-frame.  We are finalizing the design of the acrylic top by eliminating present flaws which hinder the design. Keon and I have recently finished our CAD (computer assisted design) for the structure and are in the process of collecting materials and measurements to begin the next phase of the project – seeking advice on our CAD design and then approaching a local acrylic company to build it. We intend to seek out advice from professional engineers who work with acrylic, wood, and will give assistance with plumbing.

After the collection of this information, Keon and I will contact a local organization named NorVa plastics to build the acrylic tub needed for the structure.  Once completed, the garden will grow edible plants with the purpose of being sent to local food banks in the area. Jarod intends all this work to be an effort of giving back to the community and providing fresh produce to food banks.  We are happy to collaborate with him on this endeavor.