Urban Food Lab
Who we are:
The Urban Food Lab is a Vertically Integrated Projects Program funded by the Office of Sustainability Green Grants program. In our course, students design and implement independent research projects applied to an aquaponic vertical farm housed at the NYU Makerspace. We help students secure funding for their projects and guide them through project and experimental design. Through this experience, students apply their disciplines to a new generation of farming technology.
Come learn more about our projects at our expo! RSVP by clicking here or the image below!
There will see our student projects:
- Composting polystyrene foam (aka “Styrofoam”) and farm waste with the use of mealworms
- Composting polyurethane using fungi
- Genetically modifying kale roots to breakdown Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- Analyzing beneficial farm bacteria in aquarium to reduce costs and enhance efficiency of processing fish waste into nutrients
- Developing techniques for early detection of harmful diseases to aquaponic fish
- Exploring farm-to-pharmacy cosmetics using fresh calendula
- Holographic imaging of farm cosmetics binding to lipids
- Enhancing efficiency of light use through computer modeling
- Building a chemical water quality testing robot
- Understanding how indoor farms enhance air quality in the workplace
- Survey of local farming initiatives
- Branding and promotion of farm
- Building an ergonomic farm
- Using machine learning in to detect plant diseases
- Performing pH studies on spirulina
More about the course
Students not only get to learn project design implementation, but they also learn how to design project design with sustainability, from design to material choice. Students are encouraged to take their knowledge of sustainability out of the farm and apply them to the broader community via extra-credit initiatives like registering people to vote, volunteering at local farms, and hosting guest speakers open to the public. It is our vision that the classroom should be both an active and passive learning experience. We provide textbooks and opportunities to take courses independently and also hold regular classes where students passively learn farming techniques and experimental design in a hands-on environment. Through taking intro and exit exams, it is clear that students are learning about aquaponic and hydroponic farming.
Students have gone out of this program and created companies like WE ARE THE NEW FARMERS, and several students have used their experience in the farm as a gateway into academic research.
Our Green Grant expires on January 1, 2020. Until December 3rd, we are raising funds to continue to support students’ projects, their travel to professional conferences, take supplemental courses online and locally, and to fund farm maintenance.
Why we need funding:
As a course in the Vertically Integrated Project program we are student lead and taught. As a non-traditional course, we would like to keep the farm alive, have students continue their great work, and send students to conferences!
By funding this project you fund:
- Student projects
- Conference and travel fees
- The continuity of the farm
- Student educational materials
We calculated our fundraising goal of $15,000 based on the yearly costs of the farm:
- Student projects: $8,000
- Conferences and travel: $2,500
- Electronics: $1,500
- Fish system: $1,000
- Enclosure maintenance: $500
- Farm system: $500
- Student educational materials: $500
- General maintenance: $500