The AUB Neighborhood Initiative in collaboration with the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management at AUB is giving a vertical agriculture workshop to students in different schools in Ras Beirut, namely Saint Mary’s Orthodox College (SMOC), Jaber Ahmad Sabbah public school (JASS).
The project’s objective is to raise awareness among the students on the concept of urban agriculture which allows them to grow pesticide-free and hormone-free food in their own school or home. Since we live in a dense city with limited garden space, the students are introduced to vertical agriculture where they use the school walls to grow their vegetables.
The first step is teaching the children the basics of planting and the good composition of soil. Then, students fill upcycled plastic crates with soil, compact them properly with Styrofoam, plant different leafy vegetable seeds, and finally label and water their crates.
The students plant rocca, parsley, coriander, chicory, watercress, lettuce, and spinach. The seeds germinate and start sprouting after one week. The crates would then be tilted at a 45 degree angle in preparation to be fixed vertically on the school wall. The students would water the crates every other day and watch their seeds grow until they pick and harvest their own green leaves and make delicious salads to eat at school. In the end, the students will have gone through the whole process of planting green walls from soil and seeds to edible greens.
These green walls can be enjoyed by the whole school community and it can be used as teaching material for all grade levels. Even KG students can experiment with picking up different leaves and tasting them to be introduced to different tastes.