This is the question that we wanted to answer when we started #ProjectMartian. Inspired by our previous SOIL Lab Project and a forced pivot in the midst of a global pandemic, we wanted to show the community of Columbus what STEM looks like when deployed to feed people and innovate an industry while simultaneously changing the face of agriculture and sustainability in urban settings. So we launched #ProjectMartian at the PAST Innovation Lab and our partner site, Mezzacello, a 21st Century Urban Farm in Columbus.
And PAST’s own Sultan of Systems, Jim Bruner, is the project director of this collaborative urban farming project. You may not guess it from his title, but Jim is a farmer at heart, and Mezzacello just so happens to be his passion project and urban farm. So, he really gets into the weeds about what’s happening at the intersection between STEM, applied teaching and learning, urban sustainability, and food scarcity in the midst of a global pandemic.
How Mezzacello was inspired by teachers
The remarkable moment when collaboration and innovation happens spontaneously
What happens when you give kids the freedom to solve real-world problems
Creating “martian compost generators”
How the lessons we’re learning in these experimental urban gardens are already helping communities around the world
Reframing the way we think about people, connection, and resources