When we first entered the greenhouse, we immediately saw rows upon rows of hydroponic tomato plants ranging from 20-45 foot vines with their growing ends reaching 10 feet tall. The ceiling could barely be seen and walking the aisles felt like being in a forest. We were given a debriefing about the greenhouses and learned valuable information about how hydroponic growing is the most effective method for crop production today. The crops grow rapidly during the summer, but during the winter, there is very minimal setback in production due to all the resources provided inside the greenhouse. The professor, Dr. Rorabaugh, explained how the leaves are sprayed with natural oils to protect the plants from any insects that could be dangerous to the plants as a form of pest control. The nutrients the greenhouses provide are a significant factor in the success of the plants blossoming. The controlled light, temperature and carbon dioxide permit the plants to grow effectively. Many of the families loved volunteering as we got to dismantle the experiments that the students collected data from all semester long. What really made it wonderful was that Iskashitaa was able to redistribute the tomatoes the volunteers gleaned to other families.
Big thanks to Georgia, Jama, Wayne, Muna, Ky, Kul, Kendal, Shamsa, Anthony, Robin, Kyler, Marcela, Andrew, Rahma, Natalie M., Liz, Faeza, Metaseybia for volunteering, and to Professor Dr. Rorabaugh and her staff for an awesome educational week of harvesting hydroponically. Kul Kefley plans to begin volunteering on a weekly basis perhaps take a class or specialized workshop in growing hydroponically. Iskashitaa connecting refugees to resources.
Written by Anthony Adun, UofA and Good Will summer intern.