Meet the FarmBot

It could very well be the future of food.  

Sixth through eighth grade students at West Hollow Middle School are exploring two different methods of growing veggies and herbs using alternative agricultural practices suited for nontraditional growing environments.

Meet the FarmBot. 

"It can plant a seed for you, water it, check the humidity of soil, if you’re away it can take a picture of plants so you know how they’re doing," said one student. 

It’s an open-source farming robot where students automate the process of growing produce using coding. It’s far from your ordinary project and this is not your ordinary science class. 

Science teacher Chris Regini says vertical hydroponics is another way to grow a lot of food in a little space. 

"Kids are going to study plants in school anyway and we wanted to make it relevant to something that is going to be a problem we’re going to have to solve in the future," Regini said. "The world population is going over 7 billion and we’ll have to feed people."

The students follow a flipped instruction model where they actually watch pre filmed lessons at home and then experiment in the classroom. This gives them less time in their seats and more time being hands on. 

"If we continue to approach education in a way we’ve done it since the 1920s we never going to do great things like grow food in the back of your classroom or have a robot tending to your crop in the middle of your cafeteria," Regini said. 

And it’s a lesson you can take a bite out of - they’ve harvested bok choy for the Chinese New Year and basil to make pizza.