An education and research project for improved community health through a thriving hydroponics sector
What we do
The “Healthier Living Through Hydroponics” project educates consumers about producing hydroponic vegetables and about consuming them for healthier living. This webpage offers a series of open-source hydroponics education materials, in English and Spanish. These free tools aim to help teachers reach students from kindergarten through grade 12 with the techniques for producing nutritious vegetables without soil.
Research for a stronger hydroponics sector
In addition to delivering hydroponics education and pedagogical resources for educators, the “Healthy Living Through Hydroponics” project leverages partnerships with the Uvalde County Underground Water Conservation District, regional nutrition centers, health care facilities and 4-H to understand and improve consumer knowledge and perceptions about hydroponics. These studies aim to inform overarching solutions for healthier communities and to develop the growing sector of small-scale hydroponics producers to meet the nutrition needs of improved health.
Our project is funded by the Texas Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Program — administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture — in partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife Research. Our team is based at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Uvalde.
Daniel I. Leskovar, Ph.D.
Daniel I. Leskovar, Ph.D., is a Texas A&M University professor of vegetable physiology and director of the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Centers in Uvalde and Dallas. His research is centered in understanding plant adaptation mechanisms to abiotic stresses and in developing sustainable vegetable cropping systems. In this project, he directs the research leading to improve the health and nutrition of consumers and the economic well-being of small-scale farmers through education and adoption of efficient hydroponic techniques.
Gabriela C. Zapata, Ph.D.
Gabriela C. Zapata, Ph.D., is a Texas A&M University professor of Hispanic linguistics. Her research foci are learning by design; pedagogies for second language, L2, and heritage language, HL; multimodal social semiotics; and teacher education. She is involved in the development of inclusive, open educational resources for the teaching of L2 and HL Spanish as well as Spanish for the professions. Her work in the “Healthier Living Through Hydroponics” project is connected to its pedagogical aspects, which include the creation of instructional materials and the investigation of the effects of educational interventions on primary school students’ attitudes toward the consumption of hydroponics.
Joshua Harvey is a Texas A&M AgriLife Research associate in the vegetable physiology, production, and quality lab. His research focuses on plant nutrition, its regulation of plant productivity and plant physiological adaptations to heat stress in vegetable crops. Harvey’s responsibilities in the “Healthier Living Through Hydroponics” project include aiding in the design, execution and analysis of associated hydroponics experiments and managing the hydroponics systems and vegetable production cycles at our partner locations.
Manuel Figueroa Pagan
Manuel Figueroa Pagan is a Texas A&M AgriLife Research technician in the vegetable physiology, production, and quality lab. He has been involved in the hydroponics research in Uvalde since it’s onset in early 2021. His responsibilities in the “Healthier Living Through Hydroponics” project include assistance and guidance in running the hydroponic systems and growing the leafy vegetables.
Ewurama Okine is a Texas A&M University graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Hispanic Studies. Her research focuses on sociolinguistics, language pedagogy and instructional technology. In the “Healthier Living Through Hydroponics” project, she assists in qualitative research and pedagogical initiatives. Okine’s responsibilities include reviewing existing literature on attitudes, perceptions and opinions on hydroponics, designing research instruments used for the project, and researching and compiling open materials on hydroponics for teachers and students.