FAFS faculty, staff, EAB members, and invited guests learned of the projects students had worked on during their time at the AREC research hub in a set of displays and presentations.
This year's presentations of agricultural projects by AREC students (AGSC 223) on AREC Field Day (July 24) took place under unusual circumstances that made it a testament to the resilience and inventive spirit of AUB. The precautions taken at AREC considering COVID-19 recommendations consisted of limiting all exterior contact and adhering to strict social distancing measures. The student collaboration combined stringent precautions and vigilance with new agricultural concept and sustainable resources management. The result was a remarkably well organized tour of all 5 projects.
The projects included: an urban agriculture project by Al Amin Bantan, Mostafa Chbaro Abbas Madani and Ibrahim Mneimneh, all in training with UNIFERT; a project that redefines farming criteria wBith innovative hydroponic systems by Yara Al Sarrouh, Karl El Hawa, Mohammad Ali Jaafar and Ali Tarchichi; an aquaculture project that uses fish water on crops by Nasser Rafei, Mark Beirouty, and Ahmad Merhi; and a multiple cropping project using organic mulches such as paper and hay on crop production and growth by Eliana Kharrat, Farah Kamaledine, Tracy Khalil and Michelle Raed; a vegetable green roof for one of AUB's campus buildings, created by Mahmoud Kanso, a MSFEA engineering student and WEFRAH intern
AREC students working in groups of 3 or 4, established a hydroponic basil production permanent unit, a multiple cropping system that integrates corn, lettuce, spinach, melon, squash, and cucumber, an urban production system, and an aquaculture system that uses state of the art sustainability methods to produce fish and uses the waste water as a fertilizer source for multiple crops. The final project was a UNIFERT tour organized by students, as a model for extension and outreach.
The Field Day was attended by Dean Mohtar, faculty members, EAB members and a group of private sector guests. The genuine interest of the students and their mastery of the projects stood in contrast with the paralysis we are enduring due to the pandemic, economic and political turmoil.