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Even if you do your best to eat local, chances are most of the fruits and vegetables you consume come from far away -- especially if you live in a big city. Water and land for growing crops are hard to come by in urban areas. Finding more sustainable methods for growing produce in urban areas would have enormous benefits. A pilot project by Georgia Tech’s Yongsheng Chen, a professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, aims to use wastewater from the campus to do just that.
“The overarching goal is trying to figure out a way to use wastewater nutrients to grow produce in urban areas so we can decentralize vegetable production,” Chen said. A grant provides $5 million over five years from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to create and operate a hydroponic growing system using domestic wastewater extracted from the Georgia Tech campus sewer system. It is the largest USDA award Georgia Tech has received.
With an inexpensive setup based on a wheelchair and a tablet computer, BBISS Fellow and School of Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Randall Guensler has helped Atlanta catalog 1,200 miles of sidewalks.
As residents will tell you, sometimes those paths can be a bumpy, cracked mess. But it’s difficult for cities to keep track. That’s why Guensler and his students have been working for several years on a simple system to help communities assess the condition of their sidewalks.
Their latest project includes cataloging 200 miles in an Atlanta suburb in Cobb County.