At Sweet Water Foundation (SWF), we engage with a host of educational institutions in the development of holistic curriculum. Touching on subjects such as Math, Science, Engineering, Technology, Business, and Art, among others, SWF seeks to create interdisciplinary programs that push students to become innovators, with the hope of inspiring them to pursue previously unimagined career paths or projects. Sweet Water Foundation’s programs are not static, but rather change to fit the needs, budgets, and students of the organizations and educational institutions we work with. At their very core, however, SWF’s programs engage students in the construction of miniature aquaponics systems within their classrooms.
Sweet Water Foundation engages students in the construction of miniature aquaponics systems which can fit inside their classroom, or even within a school greenhouse. The beauty of miniature aquaponics systems is that they are completely adaptable and can be made to fit the budget and personality of the individuals creating them. Below are just of few of the miniature systems SWF has guided its partners in creating.
Students engaged in constructing a system are provided basic training in Construction, System Engineering, Plumbing, Electrical etc. but are given the freedom to transform the system via their interests and inspirations. Through such flexibility, Sweet Water Foundation seeks to empower the next generation of innovators and leaders.
Sweet Water Foundation has utilized miniature aquaponics to implement a wide variety of initiatives:
The Seed to Table Initiative:
Funded by the Newman’s Own Foundation, the Seed to table initiative engages students in the production and distribution of food from seed to table. Students are tasked with germinating seeds, constructing an aqauponics system, growing fish and plants, and finally producing a culturally-oriented meal with their produce.
Milwaukee Aquaponics Expertise Development Initiative (MAEDI)
Sweet Water Foundation is currently in the planning stages of the Milwaukee Aquaponics Expertise Development Initiative. MAEDI. Sweet Water Foundation in conjunction with the Milwaukee Teacher Education Center received funding from the US Department of Agriculture to conduct a teacher training and educational pilot program to support student’s entry into food science related careers. Through MAEDI we will develop an aquaponics learning framework to increase high school teacher instructional competencies in the STEM disciplines using school based mini aquaponics systems. The framework is being piloted through the training of 6 aquaponics instructional coaches and teachers from a variety of content areas in 5 schools who will design and deliver aquaponics-based lessons to high school students in the 2011-12 school year.
Growing Networks- India
Growing Networks seeks to democratize aquaponics through helping to build networks of aquapons internationally. Growing Networks acts as Sweet Water Foundation’s conduit to the creation of mutually beneficial relationships abroad. Because aquaponics must be participatory and appropriate to local social, environmental, and economic conditions, Growing Networks seeks to offer baseline resources and instruction for flexible and adaptive aquaponics systems within particular locations.
The Growing Networks pilot project, “Empowerment through Aquaponics,” took place in Kerala, India during the summer of 2012. Ten University of Wisconsin-Madison project management student interns traveled to St. Albert’s College in Kerala to co-construct an aquaponics system and network with local educators and business professionals who were interested in or already participating in aquaponics.
Through the initial pilot project and research conducted by these ten interns, Growing Networks’ staff obtained the scalable system design necessary to continue supporting the aquaponics movement in India and other countries.
SWF also maintains a strong relationship with Dr. Subhrankar Mukherjee, who has developed and implemented the concept of an Aquaponics and Spirulina Eco Park (ASEP). Dr. Mukherjee has built such systems in rural and urban settings in India for over a year with a special interest in growing on high rise apartments and rooftop spaces. Follow this link for a photo diary of the first system built in West Bengal and this link for a concept paper on the entire ASEP idea. Sweet Water Foundation continues to work with Dr. Mukherjee to develop and learn from his approach in West Begal and Mumbai.
Sweet Water Foundation is always interested in working with international groups and individuals. Contact us if you are interested in developing a partnership.