The following blog post was written by Nurfadila Khairunnisa, Keriann Cooper, Olya Noyes, and Tunger Hong on their 2019 internship project at Roosevelt Urban Farm (RUF ).

This summer, the Roosevelt Urban farm (RUF) team is taking on big projects for the students and community members at Roosevelt High School. Roosevelt is located in South Minneapolis, just a couple blocks north of Lake Nokomis. During the school year, Roosevelt offers an Urban Farming class that works on and takes care of the aquaponics system and the outdoor garden in collaboration with Spark-Y. This is all part of Roosevelt principal, Principal Bradley’s initiative to make his school “made by the students.” Two of Spark Y’s interns in the RUF team this summer, Olya and Keriann, are also students in the Urban Farming class during the school year!

As our biggest project, our team will build a hoop house on school grounds for students to be able to grow plants all year long. A hoop house acts very similarly to a greenhouse but with better ventilation. It is made by hoops made of PVC which are placed in a row and covered by greenhouse plastic. They should be placed in a location with good soil and in an area open to sunlight. Some benefits of having a hoop house include helping extend growth season by up to four months, holding in heat, being easy to relocate and move around, holding in moisture which is good for the soil, and much more.

So far, we have not started on the hoop house since we’ve only gathered all of our material last week. We hope to get started on it this week and to have it done as soon as we can.

Another one of our projects is to reorganize the aquaponics classroom that students use during the school year. We are getting help from an interior designer named Ilana, who is a friend of our team lead, Matt. In the first picture, you can see how the room currently looks like after moving around some of the big tables and cleaning up the area. It isn’t how we want it to look like just yet but looks a lot better than how it looked when we first stepped into the room!

The classroom following interior design changes.

The classroom following interior design changes.

Here are some things that our interns at Roosevelt have to say:

Tunger: "I am most excited about doing some changes to the aquaponics room and building the hoop house. Our project at Roosevelt is important to me because helping out the community is always a good thing and gives a feeling of accomplishment once finishing the project."

Keriann: "Working on Roosevelt's food systems has empowered me to start my own sustainable garden. I have a good feeling that our aquaponics system and new hoop house will also excite future Roosevelt students to engage in sustainability."