02 Sep What is a PF1010 Ambassador?
What does it mean to be a PF1010 Ambassador? The 2019-2020 PF1010 Ambassadors felt their experiences fell into several categories: education development, stem advancement, community support. This blog post summarizes their presentations from the ambassador showcase. You can view the full length of the ambassador showcase here. Learn from their words of wisdom and projects, and be inspired to start your own project.
A huge part of Project Feed 1010 is answering the question of how we can integrate aquaponics into our local food systems. Currently, 1 in 9 people in our world are undernourished. As aquaponics has the potential to produce larger quantities of food than conventional agriculture and in a more sustainable manner, we want to use it to help combat global food insecurity.
Aquaponics can be integrated into local communities in a variety of ways, including classrooms or school greenhouses, libraries, and community gardens as an educational tool to teach about different biological cycles. The produce grown by these systems can then be donated to food banks or school cafeterias to actively help fight food insecurity.
As unemployment and financial hardship increase, so too does the number of people who lack consistent access to food. Solutions to hunger that are sustainable and simplistic are now more important than ever. Through sustainable agriculture with aquaponics in our communities, we can take steps towards alleviating food insecurity while achieving greater environmental and human wellness.
As the foundational science behind aquaponics, STEM Advancement plays an integral role in Project Feed 1010. All ambassador projects shared a common goal: advancing our community’s understanding of the systems biology that brings each aquaponics project to life. Of the various scientific concepts that drive aquaponic systems forward, we directed STEM Advancement to focus on two main topics: biological filtration and the components of a system. Biological filtration is essential to neutralize ammonia and nitrite toxicity, which harms the symbiotic relationship between the plants, fish, and bacteria. On the other hand, the design of system components can optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of aquaponic systems. For this reason, we mirrored the design of the system to support the flow of biological filtration. Altogether, these two foundational concepts help regulate ammonia, pH, and the other chemical compounds present so that the system stays healthy.
STEM Advancement can be applied to aquaponics in a multitude of ways, such as experimenting with manipulated variables, hosting workshops that educate the public on the underlying systems biology principles, or designing cost-effective systems. Under this umbrella concept, we can use science and art to engineer the best aquaponic systems.
The education development team focused on an aquaponics project that engaged middle-schoolers in the Lake Washington School District. Their work involved highlighting the role of education in informing students about the global food crisis and how aquaponics can combat this issue. Much of the education work centered the creation of sustainable food systems, where students were empowered through two teaching approaches: resources and workshops.
The first of the two approaches to education development is creating resources, or places for the public to seek information and find the tools necessary to promote change. The outlined steps include choosing a specific topic to teach about, identifying who to teach, referencing similar resources, and finally creating and sharing the findings. The second approach is running workshops, offering an interactive learning experience that immerses an audience in various concepts. Workshop activities planned by the ambassadors included water-sample testing, aquaponics-system-designing, and a system-modeling competition using only household objects.
Education also must often be adapted to function solely through digital platforms, where students engage with the same content but through different avenues. PF1010 Ambassadors did this by sending emails with engaging videos and thought-provoking questions.
A central aspect for all Project Feed 1010 projects is communication. By using networks and other tools, you can increase the effectiveness of your message and engage a wider audience. The first step is to plan out your message and how you will communicate it. Some important considerations include clarifying your objective and understanding your target audience. As an ambassador your objective may be to spread awareness about aquaponics and your audience is most likely high school students. The second step is to build a network. This includes reaching out to teachers and other faculty, clubs, organizations, and other students. While generating your message it is important to choose the right platforms. Social media pages and creating a website are good places to start. By staying active and producing relevant content you can connect with your network and reach a wider audience. The last step is to present and share your message to your audience. This may look like hosting events and workshops, putting up posters, and posting content on social media. Promoting your message provides opportunities for community engagement and spreading awareness. No matter what type of project you pursue as an ambassador, communication is a universal piece.