The current food production system, including both animal and crop-based agriculture, is unsustainable and does not supply enough high-quality food to all areas of the world. This leads to insecure food sources and global conflict: social injustice, violence, and suffering. Individuals will put immediate survival ahead of ecological and sustainability concerns, further deteriorating a sense of community. Water sources are fouled and overdrawn, arable areas are lost to desertification, and forests are destroyed for access to land. These concerns are mostly due to insufficient access to high-quality food.
Team MEGA (Maximizing Efficiency of Greenhouses using Aquaponics), a Gemstone research team at the University of Maryland, identified this as one of the most pressing issues facing our generation. Our fourteen member team decided to focus on aquaponics: a sustainable, organic, and efficient method of agriculture rising in recognition. Our goal is to construct an affordable, modular greenhouse system integrating hydroponics and aquaculture into one practical design.
What a whirlwind of a semester! From Amsterdam, to Berlin, to College Park, Team MEGA has been busy! We are currently running six full-scale aquaponic systems on the rooftop of the South Campus Dining Hall. Check out pictures on our Facebook!
Thank you all for your support in the Thought For Food Challenge! Although MEGA was not selected as a finalist, Syngenta North America has been kind enough to sponsor our team to attend the Thought for Food Global Summit in Berlin this September! We are humbled by this opportunity and cannot wait to share our research with innovative thinkers from around the globe! Thank you so much to our family and friends, as well as campus and local community for your support throughout this journey.
Team member Kevin Li was selected to represent MEGA at the U21 Undergraduate Research Conference, hosted by the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands! This year's theme is "Urban Challenges: building healthy, smart and & creative cities for the future". Congrats Kevin!
BIG NEWS! Team MEGA is entering the 2013 Thought For Food Challenge, where we will be proposing our low-energy aquaponics as a novel solution to the question, "How do we feed 9 billion people by 2050?"
We're now on Twitter! Follow us to get more specific updates as our project progresses.
Team MEGA was featured in today's issue of the Diamondback! Click to read!
Team MEGA just received approval from the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) to use tilapia in our aquaponic systems!
Team MEGA is very excited to announce that we have received a $12,000 grant from the University of Maryland Sustainability Fund! We have also confirmed locations for both Phase I and Phase II of our research, and are preparing for our first growth cycle in Spring 2012.