Updated: Feb 20
I went to Oracle, Arizona where I was invited to join the Farm to Table event at Biosphere 2. As soon as we arrived we were welcomed by Agrisolar Clearinghouse, the organizer of this event. We got introduced to Nisrine Rouini who will be the post doc student from the University of Arizona who will be mentoring me in my Agrivoltaics project. We then proceeded to a tour of the Biosphere 2 where we learned about the different plant species grown under this facility. After that, we toured the Agrivoltaics plot to learn about the work Professor Greg Barron-Gafford and his team are doing. Precision irrigation, cameras to monitor crops and research in shaded and non shaded crops were a few of the topics discussed. After that we joined the Farm to Table event where I got to meet Professor Barron-Gafford in person. I also met the other members from the Agrisolar ClearingHouse team including Stacie Peterson and Anna Adair who have been extremely supportive of my project. We started distributing flyers about Growing Green to the attendees and talked about the Agrivoltaics project at Spaces of Opportunity. Later on, Professor Barron-Gafford introduced me to the attendees to draw interest to my project and to my non-profit such as representatives from ENEL who showed interest in supporting me. We then proceeded to have dinner and savor a delicious meal made with crops grown under solar panels. Across from me at the dinner table was Mr. Byron Kominek, owner of Jack’s Solar Garden, the largest Agrivoltaics farm in the country. We discussed what sparked my interest in Agrivoltaics and I also got to learn more about their educational initiatives with other high school students. At the end of the event, I saw the physiological instruments and novel ground-based remote sensing tools for tracking plant phenology and growth. I feel very lucky to have met these individuals who are driving innovation in Agrivoltaics. I am truly thankful for Agrisolar ClearingHouse and the University of Arizona for enabling all these connections for me and for believing in my project.