Greenhouse for food-insecure American neighbourhood

Student team submits design for first leg in Urban Greenhouse Challenge.
Photo Frucolas

The first phase of the Urban Greenhouse Challenge is almost completed. Student teams are to submit their draft proposals for a fresh food hub in a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Washington DC this month. Resource spotlights one proposal.

The Frucolas team opts for a combination of a greenhouse and a permaculture garden. In their proposal ‘Nourish 2 Flourish’, the eight students from Frucolas propose a three-storey greenhouse, with aquaponics taking place on the ground floor. The nutrient-rich fishing water is used to fertilize the crops on the floors above. The students want to grow herbs and lettuce under LED lamps and on the top floors, among other things, organic tomatoes and peppers under sunlight. The sloping roof of the greenhouse will collect water for fish and vegetable cultivation.


In addition, the students want to set up an ecologically sustainable vegetable garden according to permaculture principles. This garden will be maintained by volunteers of the Ward 7 district. The current greenhouse and garden in the neighbourhood have little yield. The big challenge will be how the newly designed garden can provide affordable healthy food while connecting the community to the project as a volunteer and consumer.


The jury of the greenhouse challenge will soon select 20 student teams for the second round. Then it becomes clear whether Frucolas is allowed to further develop its proposal with local partners. Frucolas is an international team of Wageningen students, with students from Plant Sciences, Biobased Sciences, International Land and Water Management and Urban Environmental Management.

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