Food – Grow Your Part


Learning Objects (14)

Direct Access Links:

NASA and Deep-Space Food Crops (NASA)
Hydroponics: The Power of Water to Grow Food (Harvard University)
A Garden in my Apartment (TED)
Build a Hydroponic Vertical Tower (University of Florida)
Hydroponics – Floating Systems (University of Florida)
Hydroponic Greenhouse How-To’s (University of Florida)
Next Gen Farming Without Soil and 90% Less Water (GRATEFUL)
What is Organic Farming? (University of California – Davis)
We Don’t have Enough Organic Farms (National Geographic)
Where Food of the Future Will Be Grown (The Hill)
The Future of Farming (The Economist)
Making a Garden Map – Lesson Plan Grades 3-5 (NJ Agricultural Society)
Seed Statistics – Lesson Plan Grades 2-5 (NJ Agricultural Society)
National Agriculture in the Classroom (Lesson Plans & Teacher Resources (Utah State University)


As NASA began missions of months and even years at the International Space Station, astronauts could no long “pack their lunch” – so scientists developed methods for growing food in space in small areas. Today, many people believe that being responsible for at least some of the food you eat is a socially responsible goal and contributes to the feeding of the planet. One way of achieving this is through hydroponic gardening. Learn how you can contribute to the planet and your own family by growing your own food,  even in a bucket or kiddie pool! Learn about the benefits of organic gardening and improve your math and science skills in the process!   

Hydroponic Gardening

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NASA and Deep-Space Food Crops

As NASA prepares the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission-1, it’s also turning its attention to exploring the possibilities of food crops grown in controlled environments for long-duration missions to deep-space destinations such as Mars.

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Hydroponics: The Power of Water to Grow Food

In 2019 alone, an estimated 124 million people faced acute food shortages from climate-related events such as flooding, irregular rains, droughts, and high temperatures. Given that hydroponics can grow food in a controlled environment, with less water and in higher yields, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has been implementing hydroponic farming in areas of the world that suffer from food shortages.


DIY Hydroponics

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A Garden in my Apartment

Britta Riley wanted to take responsibility growing some portion of her own food but lived in a tiny NYC apartment. Reviewing techniques developed by NASA and the new developments in vertical hydroponic window farms, she and her friends developed a system for growing window plants that now has a patent pending. Britta described how  through social media (18,000 followers throughout the world) a community of pioneers shared and collaborated to arrive at an optimal system. Open source projects have moved into innovations of other products as well. Instead of doing what corporations call Research & Development ((R&D) – this community of collaborators call their process Research & Develop it Yourself RNDIY.


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Build a Hydroponic Vertical Tower

Two agricultural experts demonstrate the type of materials needed for creating a vertical herb or vegetable garden, providing recommendations for what and how to plant.

Hydroponics – Floating Systems

The same two agricultural experts demonstrate how to build a virtually “no-fail” hydroponic garden using a kiddie pool (or bucket), styrofoam and cups.

To view more details such as types of soil options, crop recommendations and pest control visit the series of short videos at Hydroponic Greenhouse.

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Next Gen Farming Without Soil and 90% Less Water | GRATEFUL

Vertical farming with Tower Gardens is on the ‘rise’ and rightfully so. You can grow a variety of plants without ANY soil and 90% LESS water. It also requires 10x less space so you can do a lot more in a smaller area. That means easily growing fresh herbs, fruits, vegetables, and flowers both indoors and out. And because everything is grown and picked fresh, the flavor is unbelievable!

According to True Garden, interviewed in this video, with vertical farming we can grow in 90% less line land and produce 90% more food!


Organic Farming

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Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education / USDA

What is Organic Farming?

The Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems (SAFS) project is a 12-year research station experiment at the University of California-Davis, comparing conventional and organic farming systems. Explore the history of organic farming in the United States, an overview of organic farming systems, and the economics of organic production.


Growing Organic

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We Don’t have Enough Organic Farms

Foods featuring the USDA organic seal are grown and processed following a set of regulations, which include using only approved pest-control methods, such as eggshells or crop rotation, to act as natural deterrents. Synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, antibiotics, synthetic growth hormones, and artificial preservatives, flavors, or colors are not allowed. Certified farms are regularly inspected for compliance. – U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Fear helps explain why organic farmland is scarce. The choice to go organic is complicated and risky, and barriers prevent many farmers from switching.


The Future of Farming

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Where Food of the Future Will Be Grown

Vertical indoor farms across the country use technology to nurture rows of hydroponic greens. Robots assist in the farming process while layers of produce from floor-to-ceiling are lit by LED lights. One company notes that its vertical farms grow crops up 20-foot towers, achieving yields up to 350 times that of the most productive outdoor equivalent.


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The Future of Farming

Farms are becoming more like factories: tightly controlled operations for turning out reliable products, immune as far as possible from the vagaries of nature. Thanks to better understanding of DNA, the plants and animals raised on a farm are also tightly controlled.


Lessons in Gardening & Math

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New Jersey Agricultural Society

Making a Garden Map

Elementary Lesson Plan – Grades 3-5

What’s the first step to planting a vegetable garden? Make a plan! Seeds and seedlings can’t be plopped just anywhere in the garden. Different plants require different amounts of space to grow. And plants grow to different heights so you need to make sure that taller plants don’t shade the shorter plants. Have your students draw a map on graph paper.

Seed Statistics

Elementary Lesson Plan – Grades 2-5

Not every seed you plant will germinate (sprout), but how many of them do? Students plant seeds and record how many they planted. Younger students write number sentences showing germinated seeds compared to those that don’t. Older students show the difference with fractions, ratios and percentages.

Explore the New Jersey Agriculture Society for more lesson plans on math, science, STEM and more.

National Agriculture in the Classroom

At this website managed by the National Center for Agriculture Literacy at Utah State University, supported by the United State Agriculture Department (USDA), teachers will find a treasure trove of lesson plans, curriculum matrix, literacy outcomes and more.


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Ontology Tags Energy, Environmental & Natural Resources: Agriculture & Farming  – (1) Alternative Farming Methods (2) Home-based Farming (3) Organic Farming | Health, Fitness & Nutrition: Nutrition for Growth & Longevity – Health through Nutrition | Societies: Stamping Out Human Suffering – Food & Water Security | Space Exploration: Life in Space – (1) Experiments, Research & Technology (2) Humans in Space (3) International Space Station

Search Terms Authenticity: Producing or Revising – Product | Media- Produced: Nature related – Gardening | Challenging Problems: (1) Questions – Build a Better World (2) Themes – Conservation-focused (3) Humans in the World – Health, Fitness & Nutrition | Intended Learning Outcomes: (1) Creativity – Design or Create (2) Collaboration – (a) Assume Shared Responsibility (b) Value Contributions Made by Others (3) Critical Thinking – (a) Model with Math (b) Quantify (4) Instilled Citizenship Values – (a) Lifestyle Respecting Environmental Resources (b) Habits of Mind & Heart (c) Personal Responsibility (d) Social Responsibility | Success Skills & Depth of Knowledge: (1) Cognitive – (a) Applying (b) Analyzing (2) Social & Emotional Skills – Group Management (3) Learning Styles & Intelligences – (a) Bodily or Kinesthetic (b) Logical or Mathematical (c) Naturalist (d) Visual or Spatial | CTEs & Disciplines: (1) Agriculture & Agribusiness (2) Basic Math (3) Biology