Krishna Nemali Continues Outreach in Otterbein – HLA Happenings

Krishna Nemali Continues Outreach in Otterbein

Four racks with plants in small hydroponic systems inside a school.

Krishna Nemali and Sangrak Son (Ph.D. student in Nemali’s lab) are continuing their outreach and engagement work at Otterbein Elementary School, Indiana. The goal of their project is to shift the attitudes in schoolchildren towards healthy eating by providing both hands on and curriculum-based training. They installed indoor hydroponic systems to enable schoolchildren produce leafy greens. Over the course of a month in May, they engaged with enthusiastic 4th and 6th graders, and trained them with the concepts related to seeds and germination, plant environmental factors (such as light, water, nutrients, and temperature), and growing crops in indoor environment. Moreover, schoolchildren experienced the exciting technologies used by researchers. The students eagerly sowed and transplanted their crops. Also, they recorded meticulous data on various parameters, including germination rates and plant height. This data collection not only added a scientific dimension to their projects but also allowed them to analyze and interpret the results, drawing meaningful conclusions about the impact of different factors on plant development. During the project, their inquisitive minds brought unexpected questions that amazed us. On the last day of the project, each student took their plants home, and we harvested their big smiles. They eagerly expressed their desire to grow more crops in the future, including strawberries. This project is an ongoing initiative, set to resume in October 2023, and promises to empower more young minds with the wonders of indoor farming and the benefits of a fresh and healthy diets.

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