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Our AQUAPONS beta-testers sat down this week to talk with the AQUAPONS site developers about why they got involved with aquaponics. Here’s some of what they had to say:
“For so long, I was in the business of death. Now, I’m interested in the truth, in life, which is nature, which is growing your own food. It is therapeutic to grow from seed and to feed my family.”
“The light bulb just went off in my head as to how awesome it would be for me to grow our food at home.”
“The drought last year emphasized the effects of climate change and food security. You need to be able to produce what you need–for life, for survival. I’m all in.”
“One of the most important skills you can have is to know how to document your progress and show your work in anything you do. If we all know how to do that, we can stand on the shoulders of giants. We can collaboratively work off of each other.”
In other news, Sweet Water Foundation staff visited the aquaponics lab at CCA to work with our student beta testers there. A group from Haiti also toured our Chicago site this week.
On AQUAPONS Tuesdays, Sweet Water Foundation hosts students at our Chicago site who have interests ranging from public health to entrepreneurship to nursing to professional athletics.
Our international network of AQUAPONS exposes students to careers in the green economy, people who have created their own jobs, and the expansive possibilities attached to an open-source education.
Sweet Water hosts students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHAS), Simeon Academy, the CSW Career Academy, Community Christian Alternative Academy, CICS Larry Hawkins, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey City College, Kennedy-King City College, Chicago State University, the University of Chicago, and other schools in Milwaukee and Chicago on a regular basis.
Every week, Sweet Water Foundation-Chicago hosts “AQUAPONS Tuesday,” a summer confluence of students from public, private, charter, and parochial schools who practice aquaponics. These students are also beta testers of Sweet Water Foundation’s AQUAPONS website, an online aquaponics educational platform that enables students to work within a self-directed, self-paced aquaponics curriculum and earn badges.
The cross-pollination of students from North Lawndale, Bronzeville, Englewood, and many other Chicago neighborhoods yields a creative and vibrant network of AQUAPONS who are rapidly gaining skills and building innovation in the areas of Design & Build; Water; Fish; Plants; and Community, Environmental, & Economic impact.
Every AQUAPONS Tuesday, students visit Sweet Water Foundation’s Chicago aquaponics site, a converted shoe warehouse near Chicago State University. Each week looks different, depending on where students find themselves in the AQUAPONS curriculum and what opportunities arise from our international community of AQUAPONS.
Last Tuesday, we dialed into a call from Sweden’s Summer of Soil conference. The roomful of people in Sweden (including Sweet Water Foundation’s Nick Montezon) were especially interested in the kinds of things that the 20 students at Sweet Water Foundation’s Chicago site plan to leverage to create jobs, opportunities, and thriving communities in the Rust Belt.
Sweet Water hosts students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences (CHAS), Simeon Academy, the CSW Career Academy, Community Christian Alternative Academy, CICS Larry Hawkins, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey City College, Kennedy-King City College, Chicago State University, the University of Chicago, and other schools on a regular basis.
The AQUAPONS badge program is part of the Chicago Summer of Learning and has been funded through the Digital Media and Learning Competition held in conjunction with the Mozilla Foundation and supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
The Sweet Water Foundation, in conjunction with Smartwave, and Snowfall Creative, has just won the MacArthur Digital Media Learning Competition. In winning the competition, they will be funded to create a digital platform and badge based educational curriculum to train individuals in becoming “Aquapons.”
With the funding Sweet Water Foundation aims to expand and deepen the impact of aquaponics and urban agriculture as a learning method by creating a replicable model for urban agriculture education. The enhanced curriculum and digital learning platform, developed with the funding, will support the requirements of Common Core Learning, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), IMS Interoperability Standards, and Open Standards. This model will meet the growing needs of lifelong learners to help improve their professional, academic and personal endeavors. Ultimately, this system to encourage learning that will help current and future generations address the growing concerns/implications of food sourcing and healthy food availability around the world.
Sweet Water Foundation has recently been selected as a finalist in the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media Learning competition- Badges for Lifelong Learning. With the competition Sweet Water Foundation ventures to create a badge based learning program that will engage individuals in becoming aquapons. Through the program, students of all ages will learn the basics on aquaponics through the use of a Learning Management System (LMS), a Social Collaboration Platform, and a Public Web Site that will be developed via the grant funds. Sweet Water Foundation representatives will travel to San Francisco, CA to present the full project proposal at the end of February.
Navigate to the links below to view Sweet Water Foundation’s technology and design proposals.