The Green Street Academy, a Baltimore-based charter school, initiated a pilot course as part of its junior biotechnology class, in which students grew produce in moving cubes from a tiny computer.
An initiative of the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, YouthWorks, offered the Food Computer program this summer to young people, Mayor Catherine Pugh will expand the program to Gwynns Falls Elementary School in the fall.
Eleven students, all girls, incubated lettuce and arugula inside of boxes construction out of insulation foam and sealed tight with duct tape. A grow light was utilized to produce artificial sunlight. Students wrote codes and utilized them to control the light, water and temperature inside the makeshift greenhouses.
The course combined lessons on food systems, agriculture and computer programming. The students also got the opportunity to put their cooking skills to the test in a cooking competition.
Instructor and entrepreneur, Melanie Shimano, taught the course that grew from the Open Agriculture Initiative, also known as OpenAg, an initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, which utilizes open-source technology to create sustainable food systems.