Mrs Brown Says You Need to Grow Up


Our vision is to learn different ways to grow food inside in a classroom, apartment or house to increase food security.


The seed for this project was planted when we watched the video about how food is produced and delivered to local supermarkets. We used that as a jumping off point to look at the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the children really wanted to create a project that would address:
2. Zero hunger
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible production and consumption

We also participated in an Agriculture in the Classroom program during which the children learned about the problems created by the use of synthetic fertilizers and how they can pollute water and lead to algae blooms and habitat destruction.

As a class, we split into three groups and looked at three different ways to grow food: in soil, hydroponics, and aquaponics. We discussed the pros and cons of each, researched the cost of setting up each of the systems, what materials we would have to buy and what we could repurpose from home and school, and how easy each would be to set up inside our classroom.

One of the key goals was to make a system that could be easily and cheaply reproduced at home even if you were living in an apartment and didn’t have much room. After all the research, we decided to try all three methods to compare which would work best and be most cost effective.

We reached out to members of the community and asked for donations of materials and were able to secure an aquarium for our aquaponic system. We found a Click and grow non-circulating hydroponic system on Facebook Marlet place. Our principal emptied a paper shelf to use for our grow space. A local hydroponic specialist helped us source many of the items we would need at cost which we used our grant to purchase.

We chose to do the following:
Set up a classroom aquaponic system based on a design from Agriculture in the classroom Classroom Aquaponics Instructional Video
It contains 4 platys and 3 zebra danios, as well as a snail. We are attempting to grow lettuce in the grow bed, with limited success. The fish are very popular however, and the children are very committed to keeping them healthy. They have named the fish Batman, Cheetoh, Thunderman, and the danios are Mickey, Dickey and Rickey. The snail has not yet been named.

We used two non-circulating hydroponic set-ups: the Click and Grow system we got from Facebook and two plastic bins set up using the Kratky method. https://ca.clickandgrow.com/
BEAT THE BEETS! Grow Hydroponic BEETS Kratky Method | Hydroponic Farming At Home
We planted beet, carrot, and lettuce using the Kratky method. The beet and carrot are growing well but the lettuce did not germinate. About a third of the students replanted seeds that did not germinate, mirroring what actually happens in outdoor gardens.

The Click and grow was successful with strawberries but nothing else we have tried has germinated. We experienced a lot of mould growing in the pods. This is also a drawback of this method: proprietary pods that are quite expensive to replace. Of the 6 strawberries we planted, all germinated and 5 remain healthy.

We planted patio cucumber and micro-tomato plants in small recycled plastic containers. The cucumbers have had a great germination rate, and some of the tomatoes have germinated. We may need to re-seed some of them.

The children have taken ownership of the set up and make sure the fish are fed daily and check to see if any of the plants need watering. They also get upset when there is too much algae build-up in the aquarium but it is my job to clean it out.

We have learned that the Kratky method or planting directly in soil seem to be the most efficient and cost effective methods for growing inside. Neither cost a lot to set up, both can use recycled containers so the major expenses are fertilizer, soil, and seeds, making these both good options for growing food cheaply at home.

PS. we also used worm compost and worm tea from the vermicomposter we got with last year’s grant!

Student testimonials:
“We have done a lot of stuff nothing was as great as getting the fish tank and the fish and the snail but algae grew and grew and the snail tried to clean and it was fast but not fast enough the algae took control of the tank and then Mrs Brown saved the fish tank. The end. ”

“The amazing grow up project!
We were planted tomato, cucumber, carrots and etc….
After some weeks it started growing and it might become fruits or vegetables.”

“I didn’t know that you can grow plant using the fishes and using their waste!”

“We participated in making an aquaponics system and we got pet fish we also Planted some plants. some didn’t grow but we got to replant them.”

“We participated in making a aquaponics system and got pet fish we also plant some plant. Some didn’t grow but we got replant them. Also, we are making tomato and cucumber but it’s not working so we try again. We are making lettuce for our fishes so they can be a good swimmer.”

“We used hydroponics aquaponics to plant stuff.”

“I found it fun and interesting to grow plants in 3 different ways and also learn how 2 new planting systems work
We grew carrots beets tomatoes lettuce bok choy and cucumbers.”

“I like the fish they are cute.”

“We did Hydroponics and aquaponics. l loved the carrot and the lettuce, and tomato. l like to grow strawberries and plants, and lots of things.”

“The amazing grow up project!
We planted carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, ect.
It started growing well and it might became fruit and fruits are tasty.
Some of it didn’t grow but it will soon grow and become fruits or vegetables.”

“The soil gardening is amazing I cant wait to see it all grown up. I am growing tomatoes and its not that special for me cause I already grow this and more.

“We are growing tomatoes and we have fishes it’s so amazing and the best thing is that I filled the tank for fishes and we named the fishes too. Plus fishes are fun to play with, and I planted, and it was so much fun!”

2. Zero Hunger
3. Good Health and Well-Being
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
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