Seed to Table Project
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This past Friday, Sweet Water Foundation co-hosted the gallery opening of the “Water” exhibit at Arts@Large’s gallery space on the south side of Milwaukee. The “Water” exhibit features the work of 3rd grade students from Milwaukee Environmental Sciences and 7th and 8th grade students from Fernwood Montessori School, who each built small aquaponics systems at their schools with support from Sweet Water Foundation.
See the photos below, as the students proudly displayed their aquaponics systems to gallery visitors on Friday evening, and gave a formal presentation as well, explaining the details of how aquaponics works, and what they learned from building these systems. Hats off to the students from Milwaukee Environmental Sciences and Fernwood Montessori School for their excellent work!
The “Water” exhibit will be on display through the month of April, so please visit the Arts@Large gallery at 908 S 5th St, Milwaukee, WI during their open hours to check it out.
Sweet Water has been involved in many types of projects; however, the cornerstone of our programming has been working with teachers to engage students in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) disciplines, and extending this impact to their lives outside of the classroom. This programming involves, tours, workshops on composting and aquaponics, classroom visits, and construction of aquaponics systems, which may be small displays or occupy an entire greenhouse. Sweet Water seeks to provide this programming to all students, working to lower costs by incorporating in-kind donations and seeking additional funding when necessary.
In 2011, Sweet Water successfully piloted the Seed to Table program, funded by a $5000 donation from Newman’s Own Foundation, at Loyola Academy, a small school on the South Side of Milwaukee serving at-risk urban youth. The program involved construction of an aquaponic system inside a greenhouse on school property, and engaged 20 students through the process of growing healthy food from seed to harvest, including tilapia and a variety of vegetables both in garden beds and aquaponic systems. The program was enormously successful as a summer school program, followed by a class during the fall semester, and has been the basis for many school projects since.
We were thrilled when the Newman’s Own Foundation granted us additional funding this month to fully support 3 additional schools into the Seed to Table Program throughout the 2012-2013 school year. Sweet Water Foundation will use the funding to support Bradley Tech High School and South Division High School in Milwaukee, as well as Lindblom Math and Science Academy in Chicago. The full range of programming includes tours, workshops, materials, labor and coaching throughout the process of aquaponic system construction. Some funds will be used to cover further outreach in Milwaukee and Chicago and Newman’s Own has already indicated that they will be following up with identical support throughout the 2012-2013 school year.
We are tremendously grateful to Newman’s Own for funding Sweet Water to work with these schools. As we continue to build on past successes and scale up our operation to provide additional programming, both face-to-face and digitally, we hope to gain the financial assistance necessary to provide scholarships to all schools requesting support to pursue aquaponics projects in the future.