At Carl Schurz High School in Chicago, two students, Diego Nava and Diana Guallpa, have created a “food computer.” This is part of the school’s Schurz Food Science Lab, a one-of-a-kind food science program that gives students access to a working lab where they can research urban farming and nutrition. At the same time, they are learning about modern farming techniques.
A food computer is a box with sensors that control and monitor environment, energy, and plant growth. The conception of the food computer came from MIT’s Open Agriculture Initiative, “a program dedicated to developing open-source hardware and software platforms for sensor-controlled hydroponic and aeroponic agriculture systems,” reports EdTech. Inside the computer, an Arduino Uno platform is connected to a Raspberry Pi 2B, which connects to the internet, where all the data is stored. Students can control the variables to the food box on a dashboard on the internet and share the data they collect. In theory, anyone with this technology and an internet connection would be able to grow food, no matter what climate they live in.
This program is a great way to teach students STEM skills while learning about food and agriculture, and provides a potential solution to food crises.