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Design for a Sustainable Food Future

  Dan Barra, Katie Nugent, Daniel Ottey, Adam Peternell, Jonathan Toomey, Sean Traynor

Learning and playing in nature help children develop important skills that later benefit them as adults. Turn Back Time Farm aims to create an environment where children interact with nature to facilitate this development. The farm asked our team to design and construct a greenhouse to teach children the importance of sustainable farming and the intricacies of plant production. The goal of our project is to design and build a functional greenhouse for Turn Back Time Farm. The greenhouse is a hoop house made with bent steel pipes and glazed with two 6mil thick polyethylene films. Our team designed the greenhouse based off heating, cooling, safety, and structural specifications requested by the farm. We met these requirements by using programs such as SolidWorks and Design Builder. After the farm approved our final design, we built the greenhouse according to these specifications.

Designing a Bioshelter in Worcester

Advisors: Robert Hersh, Derren Rosbach, Elisabeth Anne Stoddard

  John Joseph Breen, Mark Robert Overdevest, Peerapat Luxsuwong, Thomas Joseph Fay, Yun Jae Sohn

This project sought to create a year-round self-sustainable urban food production system. Such a system may be achieved through a bioshelter. Green energy, compost, and rainwater were considered as alternatives to fossil fuels. This project worked closely with Worcester Common Ground and other community organizations to revitalize an abandoned lot in Worcester’s Piedmont neighborhood. Detailed designs, blueprints, and cost analyses were produced to aid Worcester Common Ground with the eventual construction of the bioshelter.

Designing an Aquaponic Greenhouse for an Urban Food Security Initiative

Advisors: Lorraine D. Higgins, Stephen M. McCauley

  Blaine Christian Rieger, Gabriel Demeneghi Ludke, Khaxhismel Kumykov, Rashid Gogen Chatani, Redon IIirjan Hoxha

This project supported the Worcester Roots Project’s effort to build an aquaponic greenhouse at Stone Soup Community Center by designing a greenhouse and prototyping a modular aquaponic growing system. The team collaborated with Worcester Roots and Technocopia to develop a vision for the greenhouse project, evaluate options and determine appropriate designs for the system. We proposed a design for a wooden greenhouse with several growing systems using cheap, readily available materials, and successfully built a prototype growing system that to be by a future cooperative incubated by Worcester Roots. This project will enable growing local, fresh food in the City of Worcester and provide a starting point for developing a cooperative food business.

  Jerome Michael Anaya, Matthew Daniel Coughlin, Ritesh Adhikari

Food insecurity is a growing problem in the United States. In Worcester, the Regional Environmental Council started a Mobile Farmers’ Market to sell, local grown, nutritious food to food insecure neighborhoods. To help them diversify the products they carried and increase the profitability of the operation, we designed a solar powered refrigeration system and a new product storage system.

Designing a Bioshelter for Worcester Schools

Advisors: Robert Hersh, Derren Rosbach, Elisabeth Anne Stoddard

  Aaron Michael Vien, Brendan Andrew Sullivan, Eric Chang, Jeremy Edward Lane

Active learning can be a powerful tool for teaching all subjects. However, some elementary schools in the Worcester school district lack the resources for active learning in science. In this project we evaluate the potential use of a bioshelter (a type of greenhouse) to be used as an active learning site for two Worcester schools: Chandler Elementary Community School and Jacob Hiatt Magnet School. In order to make the bioshelter functional, we evaluate the climate and heating systems necessary to maintain a temperate interior space. Drawing on a variety of secondary sources, focus groups with educators, and interviews with owners and designers of bioshelters, we assess climate and heating systems for the bioshelter, as well as its usability as an educational resource.

Bioshelters in New England

Advisors: Robert Hersh, Andy Pressman

  Christopher JohnPaul Thomas, Jeffrey Michael Pruden, Jeffrey Peter Wyman, Zachary Ryan Killoy

Urban agriculture is now seen by practitioners and planners as a means to improve food system sustainability, address food security issues in low income neighborhoods, and foster community development. We collaborated with NCAT to facilitate the growth of urban agriculture by designing a bioshelter suitable for commercial growers. Bioshelters focus on energy efficiency, renewable resources, and appropriate technologies. They balance high tech energy saving designs with passive low cost systems in order to create an indoor ecosystem rather than a typical greenhouse. This project’s bioshelter was designed with the goal of four season operation in a typical New England environment.