The Jamaica Trip
Several members of the Farm Bytes team traveled to Treasure Beach, Jamaica in March. We went to learn about the community, introduce our project to a high school as an educational tool, and volunteer at the school and several medical facilities. Monday morning in Jamaica we arrived at Newell High school to a group of 600 students and only a handful of teachers. Most of the teachers were on strike for a well-deserved pay raise. We took to the classrooms and taught a variety of subjects. From history to agriculture and biology to non-violent conflict resolution we were able to share our passions with the students and hear about theirs as well. This unexpected turn allowed us to meet the students and see their world before we presented our project. The next day we returned to the high school and presented our project to the students. We explained what vertical farming, computer vision, and aeroponics are. We explained why it was necessary in parts of the world and how it can fix the limitation and issues of the traditional farming. The rest of our week in Jamaica was filled with medical volunteering, exploring the community, and continued work at Newell High school. Our favorite part of the trip wasn’t the sandy beaches or delicious food, but the inspiration and curiosity of the students. Our prototype inspired questions about coding, physics, agriculture, math, and higher education. The vertical farm was a starting block that triggered dialogue between us and the students and faculty. We cannot express how much we learned from our time in Jamaica and how grateful we are for all those who made it possible, especially our new friends in Treasure Beach.