THE FARM: AN EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ACTIVITY
The students of BS- Industrial Management visited The Farm on April 5, 2021. The Farm is a project of IoBM supported by Tufail industry, Future Agritech. Briefing the students, Dr. Shahid Amjad, HoD Environment and Energy Management, IoBM, explained that Hydroponics is the art of gardening without soil. Hydroponics is a Latin word meaning “working water.” In the absence of soil, water goes to work providing nutrients, hydration, and oxygen to plant life. Using minimal space, 90% less water than traditional agriculture, and ingenious design, hydroponic gardens grow beautiful fruits and flowers in half the time.
Though the technology sounds cutting-edge, the history of hydroponics dates back to the famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the 1990s, NASA grew aeroponic bean seedlings in zero gravity aboard a space station, opening up the possibility of sustainable agriculture in space. Hydroponics continues to be a timeless and dynamic method of water conservation and crop production.
Plants sustain themselves by a process called photosynthesis. Plants capture sunlight with chlorophyll (a green pigment present in their leaves). They use the light’s energy to split water molecules they’ve absorbed via their root system. The hydrogen molecules combine with carbon dioxide to produce carbohydrates; which plants use to nourish themselves. Oxygen is then released into the atmosphere, a crucial factor in preserving our planet’s habitability. Plants do not need soil to photosynthesize. They need the soil to supply them with water and nutrients. When nutrients are dissolved in water they can be applied directly to the plant’s root system by flooding, misting, or immersion. Hydroponic innovations have proven direct exposure to nutrient-filled water can be a more effective and versatile method of growth than traditional irrigation.
Hydroponics operates under a very simple principle: provide plants exactly what they need when they need it. Hydroponics administer nutrient solutions tailored to the needs of the particular plant being grown. They allow you to control exactly how much light the plants receive and for how long. pH levels can be monitored and adjusted. In a highly customized and controlled environment, plant growth accelerates. By controlling the environment of the plant, many risk factors are reduced. Plants grown in gardens and fields are introduced to a host of variables that negatively impact their health and growth. Fungus in the soil can spread diseases to plants. In the experimental phase, The Farm has successfully cultivated fruits and vegetables such as Strawberries, Cherry Tomatoes, Radish, papaya, mushrooms, etc.
The visit was organized by Ms. Mehreen Kausar Azam, Ms. Syeda Faiza with the facilitation of Dr. Irshad Khan, Mukhtar Ahmed, Dr. Fahad, and Dr.Falak of the Industrial Management Department. The faculty is grateful to the IoBM management and Mr. Umair Kirmani for facilitating the visit to the Farm.