Matching Items (44)

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STEM Education and Agriculture: The Garden Grub

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This paper about the Garden Grub concerns the growing Agritech industry along with exposing middle school students to STEM education. Currently over half of America's students are not prepared to be successful in our technology driven world. These students did

This paper about the Garden Grub concerns the growing Agritech industry along with exposing middle school students to STEM education. Currently over half of America's students are not prepared to be successful in our technology driven world. These students did not have the opportunity to be exposed to many Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math related careers or majors before entering the working world and/or college. These students are unaware of the real-life applications these topics can have and will never have the chance to pursue these fields. Using the Garden Grub, students will be introduced to the world of Agritech and how traditional agriculture is changing in include more technology. The Garden Grub is designed to not only introduce students to STEM in general, but specifically the Agritech Industry. With the Garden Grub kit and instructions students will be able to construct a small device that will monitor the external temperature and the soil moisture of a plant they are growing. For future implementations of the Garden Grub, we will develop a structured lesson plan to teach the users more about the device they are building. This is so in the future users could continue their education in Agritech and STEM because they have more knowledge on the subjects From standalone testing the Garden Grub, the device was able to successfully monitor the lettuce to ensure that it grew successfully. The Garden Grub instructions and kit were tested in a fourth-grade classroom, where college volunteers worked with the students to begin to create their own device. While there was not enough time to successfully complete the product the fourth graders were more interested in STEM than when we first started. Even though they struggled in the beginning, students quickly learned basic concepts , such as +/- circuit power, transfer of data, and sensor connections. More recently we were able to go into a middle school and teach in a classroom with the students who were part of a coding elective course. Since our last outing we were able to update the user manual and prepare more ahead of time. This gave us more time to explain the concepts to the students, along with being able to successful build all of the devices. They began to think of ways that this device could be applicable to their lives along with how the Garden Grub could be improved in the future.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Observations on Sense of Community: Relational Connections in Modern Environments

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This paper explores patterns of declining sense of community found in many modern-day neighborhoods and maintains that this phenomenon presents a level of vulnerability to our society that has been overlooked. It investigates this by examining four modern environments within

This paper explores patterns of declining sense of community found in many modern-day neighborhoods and maintains that this phenomenon presents a level of vulnerability to our society that has been overlooked. It investigates this by examining four modern environments within the U.S.: two primarily low-income, immigrant communities in or near the Tempe area, and two middle-income class communities in downtown Mesa and on the South Texas border, respectively. It uses a multi-methods approach to understand how sense of community could manifest itself at varying levels depending on the type of community establishedamong different types of communities. The locations studied were fundamentally different in nature, and, therefore, could not be subject to comparative analysis. However, the study gives evidence of weaker sense of community and general relational connection among moderate to upper-class environments. Literature review utilized in the two low-income immigrant neighborhoods revealed that residents experience high sense of community, as well as high satisfaction with their environments. Qualitative analyses consisting of interviews approached through an assets-based community development perspective, as well as forms of coding employed in the South Texas neighborhood, revealed that the two middle to upper-income communities experience low to moderate sense of community, and corresponding satisfaction with their environments. This paper suggests that trends of decreasing sense of community, such as these, create unnoticed vulnerabilities for our modern environments that present disadvantages for sustainable development. It also suggests that we can learn from the former two communities, and proposes that strong communities are critical for our society on many levels, as well as advantageous for the future of sustainable development.

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Date Created
2019-12

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Overcoming Barriers to Sustainable Urban Gardening and Farming in the Sonoran Desert

Description

Urban agriculture includes both farming and gardening, typically in a community format, in urban areas. Agrihoods are neighborhoods centered around food production and they are becoming more popular residential areas as the local food movement grows. Agritopia is one of

Urban agriculture includes both farming and gardening, typically in a community format, in urban areas. Agrihoods are neighborhoods centered around food production and they are becoming more popular residential areas as the local food movement grows. Agritopia is one of these agrihoods; located in Gilbert, Arizona, it contains both an urban farm and a community garden. Agritopia is oft cited for being an exemplary agrihood. This thesis uses Agritopia as a case study for exploring the challenges associated with urban agriculture in the Sonoran Desert.
Most urban agriculture sites experience challenges related to sustainability, but in the Sonoran Desert, even more challenges arise as a result of a unique climate, soil conditions, intense storms, and water scarcity. The objective of this project was to obtain information on common barriers to urban agriculture in the Sonoran Desert, as well as ways to overcome these barriers that will be made public for the purpose of improving sustainability of similar agriculture projects. I used interviews with gardeners and farm staff as my primary research method to gain insight to these barriers and solutions, and I coded their responses relating to challenges according to frequency mentioned. Using my findings, I compiled a thorough list of recommendations that urban agriculture projects in the Sonoran Desert or in similar climatic areas can use to achieve greater success and sustainable outcomes.

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2020-05

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Assessing the value of sustainability indicators through the case study of Valley Permaculture Alliance

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The ecological benefits provided by trees include improving air quality (Nowak, et. al., 2006), mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon (Nowak, 1993), providing animal habitats (Livingston, et. al., 2003), and reducing heat (Edmonson, 2016), among others. Trees also provide numerous

The ecological benefits provided by trees include improving air quality (Nowak, et. al., 2006), mitigating climate change by sequestering carbon (Nowak, 1993), providing animal habitats (Livingston, et. al., 2003), and reducing heat (Edmonson, 2016), among others. Trees also provide numerous social benefits, impacting urban sustainability in particular by improving human health (Salmond, 2016), aesthetically and economically improving neighborhoods (Torres, 2012), and contributing to thriving communities by creating gathering spaces and even reducing crime (Abraham, et. al., 2010). Because of the tremendous potential of trees to provide social and ecological services, particularly in urban areas, tree planting has become an important facet of many sustainability initiatives. This thesis assesses one such initiative aimed at planting trees for the diverse benefits they provide. Valley Permaculture Alliance (VPA), a nonprofit based in Phoenix, Arizona, is known for its Shade Tree Program. The author conducted an internal, quantitative assessment of the program between August and December of 2015. The assessment included evaluation of several indicators of ecological and community health related to the presence of shade trees, culminating in a report released in 2016. This paper evaluates the use of sustainability indicators in the VPA assessment as well as their value in different types of organizations. It culminates with an assessment of VPA's strengths, challenges faced by the organization, and suggestions for its future development.

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Date Created
2016-12

The Climate Smart Farm: Incorporation of Rainwater Harvesting for Resilient Agriculture

Description

Due to recent changes in climate, hurricanes have become more violent and destructive in the tropical region of the Caribbean. Extreme weather events have destroyed freshwater sources in many islands, affecting the overall food and water security of the region.

Due to recent changes in climate, hurricanes have become more violent and destructive in the tropical region of the Caribbean. Extreme weather events have destroyed freshwater sources in many islands, affecting the overall food and water security of the region. More resilient forms of collecting freshwater for citizens and agriculture must be proposed in order to mitigate future weather impacts and increase future water security. Rainwater harvesting is an ideal and sustainable source of freshwater that can be adapted into existing households to help ease reliance on city water sources. Rainwater harvesting systems are effective sources of supplemental freshwater because they are easy to incorporate and inexpensive compared to other sources of freshwater. Dennis McClung, founder and owner of global charity, Garden Pool, has created the Climate Smart Farm, an agriculture system that incorporates rainwater harvesting to help create a more climate resilient farm. The Climate Smart Farm is adaptable and can be customized to incorporate solar energy, vertical gardening, aquaponics, hydroponics, plant propagation techniques, and more to grow crops in a more sustainable fashion. The system has recently been installed in the island of Barbuda, which was badly affected by the hurricanes in the summer of 2017. The system has been positively accepted by the country due to its ability to make agriculture simple and sustainable. It can be built with local materials, making the building process economy friendly. And with the addition of plant propagation techniques, the Climate Smart Farm can extend growing seasons and increase overall yields.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2018-05

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“We and Us, Not I and Me”: Justice, Social Capital, and Household Vulnerability in a Nova Scotia Fishery

Description

Marine harvesters face significant livelihood challenges due to the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems, and due to economic fluctuations that influence their incomes. In this study, we demonstrate vulnerability as a product of the interactions among marine harvesters,

Marine harvesters face significant livelihood challenges due to the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems, and due to economic fluctuations that influence their incomes. In this study, we demonstrate vulnerability as a product of the interactions among marine harvesters, government and buyers. We combined Elinor Ostrom's attention to the influence of institutions on resource exploitation, with political ecology's attention to perceptions of agency, and the contribution of justice and equity to measuring the success of institutions. We demonstrate the benefits of this approach by examining the multi-species fishery of Barrington, Nova Scotia. We conducted 31 semi-structured interviews and 113 surveys in the summer of 2012 with buyers, harvesters, and local experts. We used Ostrom's SES framework to pinpoint system elements that were salient to respondents, with attention to household vulnerability outcomes.

Based on an analysis of these themes, we outline three processes affecting vulnerability outcomes: 1) Harvesters preferred individual over collective action due to low procedural justice and social cohesion in decision-making, 2) agents with greater political and economic power gained control over fishing access-rights while others became more dependent on lobster, and 3) economic and ecological conditions, combined with increased dependence, incentivized harvesters to catch more lobsters as prices declined. The case suggests that actors sense of control over their resource base and perception of justice in the process of institutional design may be as significant in vulnerability as the exogenous drivers of change that affect livelihood outcomes. We suggest interventions that may improve these interactions among government, harvesters and buyers, and improve the livelihoods in coastal communities.

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Date Created
2014-10-20

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Examining the Business Case and Models for Sustainable Multifunctional Edible Landscaping Enterprises in the Phoenix Metro Area

Description

This study assesses whether multifunctional edible landscaping business models provide a sufficient business case at enterprise and city scales to justify widespread implementation. First, semi-structured interviews were conducted with four landscaping entrepreneurs, and the information obtained from the interviews was

This study assesses whether multifunctional edible landscaping business models provide a sufficient business case at enterprise and city scales to justify widespread implementation. First, semi-structured interviews were conducted with four landscaping entrepreneurs, and the information obtained from the interviews was utilized to carry out a business model comparison with the Business Model Canvas framework. The comparison showed that the landscaping enterprises using multifunctional edible landscaping methods possessed a greater range of value propositions and revenue streams, enhancing their competitive advantage. Second, a GIS landscape analysis of seven Phoenix metro area cities was carried out to identify landscapes that were suited for becoming multifunctional edible landscapes. The GIS analysis identified single family residential, residential recreational open space, municipal parks, and municipal schools as being suitable landscapes, and that the area of these landscapes in the seven cities exceeded 180,000 acres. Third, scenarios were created using interview and GIS data to estimate potential value creation and return on investment of implementing multifunctional edible landscaping in the cities of interest. The scenarios found that the potential value creation of edible landscaping ranged between $3.9 and $66 billion, and that positive return on investment (ROI) could be achieved in 11 out of 12 scenarios within one to five years. Finally, the paper concludes by discussing potential long-term implications of implementing multifunctional edible urban landscaping, as well as possible future directions for multifunctional landscaping business model development and research.

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Date Created
2017-12-12

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Adapting a Social-Ecological Resilience Framework for Food Systems

Description

The purpose of applying social-ecological resilience thinking to food systems is twofold: First, to define those factors that help achieve a state in which food security for all and at all scales is possible. Second, to provide insights into how

The purpose of applying social-ecological resilience thinking to food systems is twofold: First, to define those factors that help achieve a state in which food security for all and at all scales is possible. Second, to provide insights into how to maintain the system in this desirable regime. However, the resilience of food systems is distinct from the broader conceptualizations of resilience in social-ecological systems because of the fundamentally normative nature of food systems: humans need food to survive, and thus system stability is typically a primary policy objective for food system management. With that being said, society also needs food systems that can intensify sustainably i.e., feed everybody equitably, provide livelihoods and avoid environmental degradation while responding flexibly to shocks and uncertainty. Today’s failure in meeting food security objectives can be interpreted as the lack of current governance arrangements to consider the full and differential dimensions of food system functions – economic, ecological and social – at appropriate scales: in other words, the multifunctionality of food.

We focus on functional and response diversity as two key attributes of resilient, multifunctional food systems; respectively, the number of different functional groups and the diversity of types of responses to disturbances within a functional group. Achieving food security will require functional redundancy and enhanced response diversity, creating multiple avenues to fulfill all food system objectives. We use the 2013-15 drought in California to unpack the potential differences between managing for a single function – economic profit – and multiple functions. Our analysis emphasizes how the evolution of the Californian food system has reduced functional and response diversity and created vulnerabilities. Managing for the resilience of food systems will require a shift in priorities from profit maximization to the management for all functions that create full food security at multiple scales.

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Date Created
2015

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A simple agent-based model of farmers adapting to climate change

Description

Climate change presents the urgent need for effective sustainable water management that is capable of preserving natural resources while maintaining economical stability. States like California rely heavily on groundwater pumping for agricultural use, contributing to land subsidence and insufficient returns

Climate change presents the urgent need for effective sustainable water management that is capable of preserving natural resources while maintaining economical stability. States like California rely heavily on groundwater pumping for agricultural use, contributing to land subsidence and insufficient returns to water resources. The recent California drought has impacted agricultural production of certain crops. In this thesis, we present an agent-based model of farmers adapting to drought conditions by making crop choice decisions, much like the decisions Californian farmers have made. We use the Netlogo platform to capture the 2D spatial view of an agricultural system with changes in annual rainfall due to drought conditions. The goal of this model is to understand some of the simple rules farmers may follow to self-govern their consumption of a water resource. Farmer agents make their crop decisions based on deficit irrigation crop production function and a net present value discount rate. The farmers choose between a thirsty crop with a high production cost and a dry crop with a low production cost. Simulations results show that farmers switch crops in accordance with limited water and land resources. Farmers can maintain profit and yield by following simple rules of crop switching based on future yields and optimal irrigation. In drought conditions, individual agents expecting lower annual rainfall were able to increase their total profits. The maintenance of crop yield and profit is evidence of successful adaptation when farmers switch to crops that require less water.

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2016-05

“Time to Reconnect”: High School Students’ Perspectives of a Nature-Based School Landscape

Description

The widespread environmental degradation characterizing the Anthropocene is a call to address a deteriorating human-nature relationship. For much of history, humans have been deeply connected with and in respect of nature both physically and psychologically, and this bond can be

The widespread environmental degradation characterizing the Anthropocene is a call to address a deteriorating human-nature relationship. For much of history, humans have been deeply connected with and in respect of nature both physically and psychologically, and this bond can be renewed. Doing so is especially important for future generations, as modern youth have less opportunities to experience the natural world and more opportunities to experience the virtual world. A lack of nature connectedness in our youth has clear implications for sustainability and underscores the need for interventions aimed at reconnecting youth with nature. Primary and secondary education is a particularly valuable leverage point for such interventions, and nature-based school landscapes may be a valuable tool in strengthening the human-nature relationship and reconnecting youth with nature. While studies have indirectly linked garden-based learning and connection with nature in youth, research has not yet directly explored the relationship between the two.

My research explores 12th grade students attending Desert Marigold School in South Phoenix. Desert Marigold practices Waldorf educational philosophy with the school’s garden as a primary teaching tool and recreational space. I used arts-based methods to give students an opportunity to visually communicate their perspectives of the school’s landscape through photography and artistic renderings. Students then verbally described and discussed their media in a series of group interviews. Data were then coded and analyzed for themes of connection with nature expressed in the literature. The results illustrate that students connect with nature in a variety ways through the school’s landscape, demonstrating potential for enhanced sustainability outcomes in education.

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2019-04-26