Project for Ms. O'Reilly’s AP Environmental Science Class Wednesday 2/16/22 12:25pm

Family Food Security System

Help students learn how to build a family food security system.

Outcomes and Impact
In what ways can a family food security system solve world problems?

Incentives for Students
$20 innovation winners (an idea that students have to improve the food security system?) Up to 3 may be picked.
$20 one paragraph testimonials for (answer how does this food security system help families? Or explain how you can make an impact to eliminate hunger in our community). I need a signed photo release from students in order to show their photo. I will pick the top 5 testimonials. I may also take some photos of the class if they are cleared. Here is the link:
Have students look at 3 sample testimonials on the home page of

Why is food security for families important?
Many wars start due to income/food inequality
Discuss the famines in Africa. Hungry people don’t have anywhere to go since many surrounding regions may also be impacted as well.
Discuss the logistics of feeding people.
Current problem of quantitative easing (the government printing money and creating inflation, especially for the cost of food). Explain what happened in post World War I Germany and Zimbabwe.
Why did I start this project? I saw too many people at food handouts during COVID. I started getting serious about growing food for my family in my small backyard. With stacked gardens, it is possible to feed a family of 4 within a 20’x20’ EZ corner tent.
Recommend a liquid diet (green smoothie, skim milk, herbal tea) to lose weight and to minimize food portions.

Delivering food from a traditional mono-crop farm to your table consists of the following steps

Production of Goods. ...
Processing Agricultural Products. ...
Transporting Food to a Regional Distribution Center. ...
Shipping Produce to Local Retail Stores. ...
Food Ending Up on Your Plate.

Why not grow your one food that you have control over
Use rain harvested water
Control the soil you use
Decide not to use harmful chemicals or processes
You decide the location to grow food

Components of a Family Food Security System
1 20’x20’ EZ corner tent with clear top to allow more light
4 6’x20’ shade cloths
100’ weed barrier material
200 metal plastic barrier staples
48 4’ ¾” PVC pipes
16 6.5’ ¾” PVC pipes
16 1.5’ 2” PVC pipes
16 1’ 2” PVC pipes
24 5 way ¾” PVC fittings
24 4 way ¾” PVC fittings
48 plastic clothing size spacers/stabilizers
plastic vs. metal poles
100+ plastic ties
PVC pipe cutter
1 dial irrigation timer
1 50’ water hose (60 PSI/ 2, 30 / 8 4 psi, 4/ 2 2 psi each irrigation hose)
1 5-way hose splitter
2 6’ hoses
4 8 way manifolds
300’ ¼” irrigation pipe
32 T-splitters
16 sprinklers
2 50’ misting systems (optional)
16 2’ metal stakes to reinforce PVC pipe towers
512 (16 towers x 8 rows x 4 planters per row) stacked planters
16 20 gallon fabric planters (to catch excess “run-to-waste” solutions)
Coconut coir
Worm vermicast from worm farm
Water crystals (to keep dirt damp, due to the small size of individual planters)
Bokashi (EM-1) natural fertilizer
Mycorrhizae (naturally stimulates root growth)
Neem essential oil (to deter pests such as aphids)

Hydroponic (“run-to-waste”) solutions
Standard water-soluble micronutrient fertilizer, such as 20-20-20 (dissolve 5 teaspoons in 5 gallon buckets and dispense the solution with a 2 gallon watering can)
Macro-nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, nitrogen and sulfur (dissolve 5 teaspoons in a 5 gallon bucket)
Epsom salt (dissolve 2 teaspoons in a 5 gallon bucket)
Rock dust (dissolve 2 teaspoons in a 5 gallon bucket)

Rock minerals are the building blocks to healthy soil.
The secret to growing healthy and nutritious food begins with the soil.
Naturally healthy soil contains billions of living microorganisms—from bacteria to nematodes, fungi, protozoa, arthropods and earthworms.
Together, they join in a carefully choreographed “bacterial ballet” in which each organism has a specific role to play, from the recycling of nutrients to the decomposition of organic materials.
While compost is a key component of healthy soil structure, no amount of organic matter can make up for mineral deficiencies.
Missing minerals are just that—missing. The end result is poor and infertile soil.
Rock minerals are the building blocks of healthy soil. We live in a tropical climate, we can have multiple seasons to grow vegetables and herbs.
Cost of Food Security System: (materials, seeds, soil) $3,400. ROI (return on investment) - about 1 year if you save $250 a month on groceries.
Questions to ponder
Who has priority for food, people in a new car, age, health?
Why do we go to fast food? Why aren’t there enough fast-food workers?
Why is the cost and quality of fast food vs. cost of vegetables and fruits in grocery stores.
How much food is available for our families right now in case there is a food shortage?

Construct a food security system inside the classroom.

Personal goals
I wanted to make the system easy enough for my 3 year old grandson to maintain. There is very little weeding to be done, you don’t have to stoop down to harvest plants, the irrigation system is automatic. The greens are harvested and can be consumed fresh or they can be put into a blender or juicer and put into glass mason jars in refrigerators for storage.


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