President Obama thinks education and teachers are important: How about you?

Obama Education Speech Highlights Teacher’s Role in Our Society

Morning meetings. Education Remarks at Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at Washington Marriott Metro Center Grand Ballroom in Washington, D.C. Official White House Photo

As the saying goes, our children are our greatest natural resource. Education is what ensures our children meet and exceed their potential for growth. President Obama said in his state of the union address that, “We know a good teacher can increase the lifetime income of a classroom by over $250,000.   great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to the child who dreams beyond her circumstance. Every person in this chamber can point to a teacher who changed the trajectory of their lives.” The president spoke about how we need to offer these teachers the tools to create meaningful educational experiences for our students.  

One thing we’re totally excited by at Trifecta Ecosystems is bringing aquaponics to education. This is one of the primary areas of focus for us this year.

For those of you who know us here in Connecticut, you know we have been working with schools since day 1, through after school programs, adult-education, and of course, by installing aquaponics systems in classrooms for an evolved classroom experience.

So why are we so passionate about joining aquaponics and education?

I agree with President Obama, education is vital. I believe aquaponics is the meaningful teaching tool that the president was talking about that can help a good teacher become great.

How can I make such a bold statement?  

Well, let’s look at the purpose of education.

During the 19th and 20th century education, as the modern education system grew from random schoolhouses into the systematized behemoth we know today as the public school system. The purpose during these early informative years was to train generation after generation of student to think in a silo’d, systematized way that was conducive to life in a factory or corporate office.  

In this world, aquaculture students and educators alike dump thousands of gallons of fish effluent as waste product.  In this world, hydroponic fertilizers are artificially made from petroleum instead of natural sources. This world of closed systems thinking is on its way out though.

Today, schools around the world are preparing for a leap into 21st century education.

One of Jane’s students learns about the media beds of their classroom aquaponics system.

Statements like the Presidents exhibit the shift in purpose for our educational system. Today, a good school gears towards preparing our children to meet the needs of today in oder to make a better tomorrow.

One major part of this new mindset, especially for urban schools, is the need for urban food solutions.

The World Health Organization expects 70% of the world’s population to live in urban areas by 2050. Urban sprawlreplaced 40 million acres of farmland over the past 15 years (USDA Census, 2012). It is an alarming trend relating urban growth and food insecurity. According to the USDA 2012 Census, over 92.5% of U.S farms are classified as small to mid­size farms. Small farms will play a large role in stabilizing the agricultural sector and Nation’s economy. Research (Storey, 2012; Sifola et Barbieri, 2006) shows that aquaponics outperforms traditional agriculture in production (+30%) and water sustainability (+90%) (New Zealand, 2013). Aquaponics is clearly one very viable option as part of a comprehensive urban food solution.

We know the world needs new farmers. We know that the new farmers have to grow more using less. Less land, less energy, less fossil fuels, and less labor. The perfect solution doesn’t exist yet and that’s why introducing students to aquaponics early on is so important. 

Impact Starts in the Classroom

Apple created an entire generation of computer literate students by installing their computers into classrooms around the country. Now we have generations of computer literate kids and adults. Now imagine if we had generations of food growers! That’s why we are striving to bring the power of aquaponics to every classroom.  

That is why we work with educational experts and scientists to develop a full curriculum according to the NGSS. These are the new guidelines for public school science classrooms that promote cross-cutting between subjects, grades, and even schools. The NGSS are actually looking to incorporate practical and theoretical learning and break down the arbitrary barriers between subjects.

Aquaponics and the NGSS: A Perfect Fit

The NGSS curricula guidelines are the perfect fit for aquaponics as a teaching tool because it is able to teach to so many subjects.

A crafty teacher can use their system for lessons on biology, ecology, chemistry, physics, math, economics, business, health and nutrition, geology, engineering, and even history.  In addition, this multi-subject cross-cutting allows the school to get maximum use for every dollar they use on their aquaponics program. Meanwhile the students receive an amazing tool for learning multiple topics in a cohesive way.

With our educational curricula and in-class aquaponics systems, we are scaling our impact beyond ourselves. We know we cannot grow all the world’s food ourselves, so we can help others to feed themselves, and if we’re really good, we can help them feed their community too.

Who knows which student will cultivate her own green thumb at school and bring that interest home with her.

If you want to bring aquaponics to a school near you, contact us today!

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