Wolfson Campus students are working on a vertical garden that will give downtown some much needed green space thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Miami Foundation through their Public Space Challenge.
A cohort at the Maker’s Lab received the public space grant in November. It will feature native plants to South Florida like friendship plants, silver tree, centavito, rattlesnake plants, green island ficus and more.
The project, which is mobile (the core of it has wheels), will be six feet long and feature six to seven garden plots and have a solar panel on top to charge the water supply pump.
“We displayed the project at the Maker Faire and the response was incredible,” said Ralph Provisero, manager at the Maker’s Lab. “People just loved it and wanted to get one.”
The project was the brainchild of three students who graduated from MDC last summer; their idea was to bring more “green” to the campus by bringing communities together and advocating for environmental awareness.
Students will maintain the project. They will refill the water tanks and upkeep the garden. It will also contain a rain collector, so the system collects water to hydrate the plants. Currently, three new students are working on the garden.
“I joined the project this year in January and I started brainstorming where this project is going to be in the next semesters and years,” said Manuel Benitez, who is currently leading the project. “We came up with a prototype of a vertical garden that sustains itself. That means that it gets the electricity from the sun with solar panels that we built ourselves.”
The joints of the design of the vertical garden were made with 3D printers at the Maker’s Lab. Students manufactured the solar panels by reading books and articles on how to create them. They also created the irrigation system using 3D printers and they cut metal parts using a laser cutter. It took students one semester to come up with the design concept for the project.
“We’re sending a letter to the highway department [and the botanical garden] to get recycled materials, ” Benitez said. “We are trying to use the community that we have in order to make this project happen.”
The students are under a tight directive to complete the project by March of 2019, per conditions of the grant money, which will cover the team’s necessities for a year. Once students graduate, new students will take on the project to hopefully make it a permanent installment. The College is in process of deciding where the vertical garden will be showcased.
“We have different people joining us in the project, but all of them are in their second year of the program,” Benitez said. “It’s going to depend on who takes on the project.”
If you are interested in helping with the vertical garden project, contact the Maker’s Lab at 305-237-3470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.