An exciting collaboration between Sweet Water Foundation, Sweet Water Organics, the University Wisconsin-Madison andSt Albert’s College, Kerela, India has brought about the design and development of a service-learning curriculum based international internship program.
The program works using existing infrastructure and knowledge about Aquaponics developed inMilwaukeeas a platform from which to address global issues of food insecurity, malnutrition, water shortages and as a tool for local community engagement. The plan is to develop a global localization service and learning projects to create future leaders ready for innovation and globalisation
The internship will see 8 University of Wisconsin-Madison students undergo an intensive training in the building and maintenance of an Aquaponics system for a week at Sweet Water Organics in Milwaukee and then create a plan of continued operation before travelling to Kochi Kerala for five weeks work of localization research and the building of a demonstration site at the St Albert’s College facilities. The students will then work to develop a plan that involves recommendations for continuation and sustainability of the project including product markets, local farmer outreach, cooperative development
The inaugural internship will commence in the mid 2012 and will involve students from a variety of disciplines. Recognizing the need for cross sectoral capacity and perspectives students from a variety of academic fields have been encouraged to apply, including Agriculture, Nutritional Sciences, Health Sciences, Engineering, Education, Environmental Studies, Communications, South Asian Studies, and Business.
“The goal of this creative collaboration is to come away with a 70% good enough template that can help us get started with a similar work in another community, city, country where we are invited to help introduce aquaponics as a solution towards the food insecurity, water shortage, soil contamination, malnutrition, etc. that many places around our world faces,” says Project Director Shajan John
According to published reports of the US State Department, water shortages threaten to reduce the global food supply by 10% in the next 25 years. Growth of agriculture productivity is not keeping up with the population increases in poverty–stricken areas. Aquaponics is a potential platform to counteract these effects in India.