Future Food Project

Targeting United Nations Sustainable Development goal:

I nominated this as an exploration project during my time at the Liger Leadership Academy as a response to the UN sustainable development goal number 2 “Zero Hunger”. As access to freshwater and arable land is decreasing and world population increases, there will be a need to find alternative ways of producing food. For this reason we chose to explore what it took to build and maintain a vertical hydroponic farm. Hydroponic systems can save up to 80% water when compared to traditional farming methods and enable the option of growing vertically to significantly reduce ground area needed. Ten students and myself as the facilitator explored; what nutrients and pH levels particular vegetables needed, how to effectively use the space intended in terms of geometry using 3D CAD methods, flow control methods to ensure distributed nutrient solution among all plants, electronic sensors to monitor the system, and an IoT platform using IBM’s Node-Red to enable visualization of data sent from the arduino micro-controller to be displayed on any device connected to the local wireless network.

The students hope to increase awareness of other forms of farming to their local communities by creating other installations off-campus in the future. Here is Nilroth’s experience of working with the system and harvesting the first batch!


Explorations at the Liger Leadership Academy are project based experiences where students work together in groups of 12 to explore a relevant, often complex question, problem or challenge. This project based learning approach is almost always enhanced with intensive activities that involve student immersion in real world experiences outside of the classroom.
By engaging real issues in the outside world, students focus on big picture systems thinking and create a final product or action that causes change or serves a meaningful purpose. This process helps each student develop individually and communally as creators and innovators. It ensures deep and authentic learning – engaging students in critical thinking, problem solving and decision making in contexts that are relevant to them.