Sunday, April 11, 2010

An End, A Beginning, and Lots of Dirt

As the academic year draws to a close, our goat engineers are finishing up their project. We had a chance to see their presentation on Thursday, and we were so impressed with the progress they've made. Their model looks to be useful (I've already heard one request for access to it and a recommendation that they make it available through MSU Extension). We wish them all the best as they graduate and move on with their careers, and we hope that they'll check in with us periodically!

We're also looking at new projects within the Biosystems Engineering Department at MSU. They're changing the way senior design projects will be selected, so we're not sure how everything will happen, but currently it looks like we'll have students working on heavy metal toxicity in soil as well as an aquaculture project (imagine huge tanks of tilapia).

The heavy metal toxicity project will address one of our main concerns for Detroit's urban agricultural movement, which is the lead contamination, so heavily present in many areas of the city, that has already caused lead poisoning in many of Detroit's children. While working at Georgia Street Community Garden, I chatted with Mark Covington about this. The dirt coating my hands wasn't an issue - although the soil on Georgia Street is poor, it isn't contaminated. However, Mark knew of other gardens that required soil remediation before they could move forward. We'd like to target these areas in our partnerships.

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