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Groovy Hydroponic Gardens Around the World

The advantages of hydroponic growing gardens and farms are gaining interest around the world.  Hydroponics uses less water than traditional farming, is environmentally friendly, and produces more plants, fruits and vegetables.  Also, it requires less space and uses less energy.

Groovy Hydroponic Gardens Around the World

The hydroponic method of growing can be accomplished through vertical gardens on urban rooftops, in closed domes and greenhouses, on open land farms or in your own home.

Check out these groovy hydroponic farms and gardens around the world:

Epcot Center Green Houses

The Land Pavilion at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center The Land Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida, consists of several connected greenhouses where fruits and vegetables grow in the air, water and sand. The plants grow in vertical towers, conveyor belts, above-ground pipes, cool containers and spiral structures. The Land tour takes visitors on a groovy ride through its Sustainable Agriculture and Research Center, where these methods of growing are used to cultivate a spectacular variety of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers.

The aeroponic method of growing, where roots are exposed to the air and sprayed with nutrient-based water, is used to grow Brussels sprouts, okra and herbs in the Pavilion.  You can also see edible flowers, such as marigolds, poppies, lavender, viola and snap dragons, growing in an aeroponic vertical tower.

O’Hare Airport

O'Hare Airport aeroponic vertical garden The first aeroponic vertical garden located in an airport opened in 2013 at O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois.  A water-nutrient solution cycles through 26 towers that hold over 1,100 plant roots suspended in the air.  The 928-square-foot indoor garden produces a fresh supply of greens that are then used by chefs at Stanley’s Blackhawks Lounge, Wicker Seafood and Sushi Restaurant, Wolfgang Puck and other airport restaurants. STEMists can find the special garden in between O’Hare’s terminals 2 and 3 in the mezzanine level of the Rotunda Building.

Miyagi Prefecture Farm

Miyagi Prefecture FarmPlant physiologist Shigeharu Shimamura converted a Sony semiconductor plant in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture into the world’s largest indoor farm. About the size of a football field, the farms uses 17,500 LED lights spread across 18 cultivation racks, each towering 16 levels high. The LED bulbs provide a most favorable wavelength of light that increases plant growth by 250 percent!  The indoor farm decreases water usage to only 1% of what’s used in conventional farms and a 50% decrease in produce waste.  An astounding 10,000 heads of lettuce are cultivated each day.

Gotham Greens

Gotham Greens

Gotham Greens in New York City operates three rooftop greenhouses that use the hydroponic method of growing.  The first Gotham Green facility, located in Brooklyn, produces over 100 tons of greens each year. A second location in Brooklyn sits atop Whole Foods Market, and produces over 200 tons of greens and tomatoes.  Gotham Greens’ largest rooftop greenhouse is located in Queens and boasts 60,000 square feet of growing space.

Hydro-Taste U-pick Farm

Hydro-Taste U-pick FarmSTEMists can pick their own fruits and vegetables at Hydro-Taste Hydroponic U-pick Farm located in Myakka City, Florida, about 22 miles east of Sarasota. Visitors can pick from 250,000 hydroponic plants, including strawberries, blueberries, kale, corn, peppers and cabbage. The benefits of hydroponic farming are evident at Hydro-Taste. At this farm,  60,000 strawberry plants grow on a half-acre and use only 900 gallons of water a day, whereas the same amount of strawberry plants would take up seven acres on a traditional soil-based ground farm and use over 140,000 gallons of water a day.

Lufa Farms

Lufa FarmsIn 2011, Lufa Farms in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, built the world’s first commercial rooftop greenhouse that spans 30,000 square feet of sustainable hydroponics.  The main goal of Lufa Farms, like many city rooftop gardens, is to grow food for taste and nutrition – close to where the people live. Its first harvest of tomatoes was distributed to 400 local markets and restaurants.

Water Works” Groovy Lab in a Box

Hydroponic farms and gardens can be found in all parts of the world. However, if one is not close enough to visit you and your STEMists can learn more about hydroponic systems with the educational STEM activities found in the “Water Works” groovy box — explore different types of hydroponic systems, seed germination and photosynthesis! Build a water reservoir, test tube bean stalk, hanging raised beds, a groovy space barn and much, much, more! Practice essential 21st century science skills: pipetting, measuring volume and length, making observations and collecting data. Join Now! and challenge your STEMists to a monthly Groovy Lab in a Box, full of everything a child needs to learn about and do hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) investigations. Our monthly box activates thinking, questioning, inquiring and original creation as we guide children through scientific inquiry and engineering design process.

Groovy Solar Energy Structures

STEMists are learning at an early age that going green is groovy.  Whether it’s the type of family car they use, where their food is grown, or how their house is built, STEMists are being groomed to upgrade to an eco-friendly world.  Solar power is no different! Even though architects have been using passive solar energy for centuries, solar panels are the newest, environmentally friendly, high solar energy designs hitting the architecture scene.

Here are some groovy solar panel architectural structures that are sure to light up your STEMists’ minds.

#1. Solar Flowers at the Parachute Rest Area on I-70 in Parachute, Colorado

The rest area near Parachute, Colorado, USA may be in the middle of nowhere, but it has a hidden solar treasure. The rest stop has three photovoltaic flowers, each with custom frames that support its solar panels. The solar panels produce energy that is then used by the rest area. It’s a welcome site in a desolated part of I-70!

Groovy Solar Energy Structures

Photo courtesy of Brian Guest

#2. Walt Disney World Epcot Center’s Universe of Energy

Walt Disney World Epcot Center’s Universe of EnergyLocated in Florida, this attraction ride opened in 1982 and boasts more than two acres of solar paneled roofing that powers the majority of the attraction.  The panels produce enough energy to power 15 homes.  Epcot Center is a theme park where families can experience firsthand science, technology, engineering, and math concepts through the exhibits themselves and the genius of Disney imagineers!

#3. Solar City Building

The largest solar-powered building in the world is located in Dezhou, Shangdong Province in northwest China.
Solar City Building  located in Dezhou, Shangdong Province in northwest ChinaInspired by a sundial, the structure spans 75,000 square meters and houses a hotel, research facilities, and exhibition, meeting and training facilities.  The structure was originally built to host the 4th World Solar City Congress meeting.

#4. Blackfriars Railway Bridge

January 2014 marked the opening of the Blackfriars Railway Bridge in London— the largest solar bridge in the world! Blackfriars Bridge across the River Thames secures half its power from 4,400 roof-mounted solar panels and produces about 900,000 kWh of electricity.

Blackfriars Railway Bridge in London— the largest solar bridge in the world!

#5. Solar Ark

The Solar Ark, located in Gifu, Japan, uses over 5,000 solar panels to collect over 630 kW.  Built by Sanyo, the Ark is a solar-collecting structure built with substandard recalled monocrystalline cells. Why did Sanyo use the recalled cells?

The Solar Ark, located in Gifu, Japan

According to their web site, they wanted to show their “sincere regret that this problem has occurred and to express our willingness and determination to both remember what happened and how important it is to maintain quality.” The Solar Ark provides visitors with a solar museum and multi-media exhibits, a solar lab and other rooms for environmental events.

#6. The Monte Rosa Alpine Hut

Located in the Swiss Alps, the Monte Rosa Alpine Hut is a sustainable ultra-modern building.  The high-tech hut soaks up the sun’s rays to produce an astounding 90 percent energy self-sufficient system!

The Monte Rosa Alpine Hut located in the Swiss Alps,

Young STEMists are learning from the building of architectural structures used for everyday living.

These structures will certainly spark imagination and perhaps influence how they work out the experiments and engineering design challenge in the solar-themed Groovy Lab in a Box.  Order your solar-themed box today!

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