SPASH Student Wins FFA National Award
Posted by Stevens Point Area Public School District on 11/3/2022
National FFA Convention attendee Clare Viau wins National award from the National FFA Organization. Clare took first place in the division 5 “Plant systems” category this was Clare’s fourth year as a national finalist in the agriscience fair project in plant systems.
The purpose of the research was to understand how the growth and edible mass of kale, green bean, and radishes will compare when grown in soil representing a plant growth environment on a space station. Three different species were tested in two different soil types. The soils were Greens Grade Calcined Clay and traditional potting soil. All six plants were grown in the same lighting and temperature conditions. The results of the study showed that the radish plant grown in calcined clay produced the greatest amount of edible mass. Both radish plants had a relatively high percentage of the plant that was edible. The kale plant grown in calcined clay had a very high edible percentage of the plant at 90.9%. The green bean plants had low edible percentages and low values of total edible mass.
Based on the information gathered in this experiment, both kale and radish plants have potential to be grown in space for their nutritional value and yield per plant. Green bean growth could be modified to make it more efficient. Advancements in space food growth improves farming and food production on Earth as well. Vertical farming benefits consumers and the climate. Studying unique soils, like calcined clay, benefits regions on Earth with infertile land by discovering new horticultural methods. Overall, the information gained from this experiment benefits space exploration, the ever-innovating agriculture industry, and individual citizens of Earth.
Clare starts with an experiment and collects data over a period of time. A report is then written and submitted to the Wisconsin State FFA where she was judged on the report and went through an interview process. State winners are announced during the State convention held in Madison every June. After the state convention the winners receive their scores along with comments from those comments corrections can be made to the report and virtual interviews are then held. The national FFA organization then announces the top 10 national finalists and each finalist designs a display for their project to be on display during the National Convention.