Brett Smith

Second Place

Prize Awarded:
Valley View Elementary School
Phoenix, AZ

Project Description:

“Planting Seeds, Growing Communities”, is Smith’s winning program that is designed to create a more sustainable farm in the desert. He’s building off of Valley View Elementary School’s existing activities in “The Orchard”; 7.5 acres of farmland located near the school’s campus leased in partnership with a local energy company. With the help of the ING grant, Smith wants to take “The Orchard” fieldwork to another level. He will continue to work with his students to further develop a 1/3 acre spring garden to test soil quality, practice irrigating with water from canals, conduct a boundary survey and scale drawing of the farm, harvest and sell the produce to a local farmer’s market, create a community supported agricultural initiative to provide free produce to needy families, and develop and publish a “how to” gardening journal for the community and sister schools. With the grant, Smith will further develop the irrigation process with his students which will involve a series of sand and rock filters, Tilapia fish and water plants. The water will then be pumped from the cistern into a drip irrigation system by a solar-powered pump. Students will take part in all phases of the project, including calculating the mass of plant matter needed for 50 adult Tilapia in a 34,000-gallon cistern. Smith lives in Phoenix.