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Impact 0397: A teen’s passion for sustainable urban agriculture

Hannah Joe · 28 February 2022
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Hi! I am Hannah Joe, and I am 19 years old. I am very passionate about helping the earth through sustainable urban agricultural methods such as aquaponics, though I focus on hydroponics. I try to reach out to as many people as possible, such as kindergarteners and retirees, to share the necessity of the implementing of sustainable agriculture in our daily lives as well as the fun that comes along with it!

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I started my interest in sustainable farming after visiting an exhibition that displayed aquaponics systems, a type of sustainable agriculture where plants and fish coexist in one symbiotic environment. After that exhibition, I researched extensively and built my own aquaponics system in my parent’s bathtub, much to their generosity as shown in the picture. 

Later, I had to move my aquaponics system to the balcony because of the extensive fish odor permeating the bathroom. I found out that I have a knack in crafting, from cutting pipes and plastic tubs. The hands-on experience definitely piqued my interest further on sustainable agriculture where I extended my journey from aquaponics to hydroponics systems.

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After my mom told me about the long queues at groceries stores and the lack of fresh produce Singapore had caused by  the COVID-19 pandemic, I started to get concerned about food security issues. I wanted to raise awareness about sustainable agriculture as our family still had access to fresh produce from my hydroponics system. So, I decided to reach out to multiple children’s homes across Singapore, giving me the opportunity to interact with the children and teach them about hydroponics.

In the picture, I am showing the types of seeds that one group will be growing while the other group of children behind me are germinating the seeds into specialised mediums which will eventually be inserted into the hydroponics system that I donated to the children’s home. It was a source of constant motivation for me when I saw the children interested and joyful at the growth of the plants just like I had been!

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To continue my mission of spreading knowledge about sustainable agriculture, I also took part in a school science project as a guest teacher at a secondary school, where I helped the students learn more about hydroponics. They made their own individual mini hydroponics systems and a few larger hydroponics systems for the class. 

In the picture, I am distributing seedlings for the students to put into their hydroponics system. This was an exciting experience for me as it was one of the first times I taught a class, and I felt a sense of achievement when I saw the enthusiasm of some students tending to the plants and watched the videos they made of their hydroponics journey.

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