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BiG Fab Lab Hosts Hydroponics Project Meetup Bowling Green, OH – What happens when you combine a highly innovative scientific gardening approach with a creative community of innovators who meet in a space designed to empower creativity and innovation? Mark Bowlus, Director of the BiG Fab Lab in Bowling Green, Ohio, is hoping the answer to this questions is: Great things! This fall and winter, the BiG Fab Lab is hosting what it hopes will become an annual hydroponics community garden project.

You may be wondering, “What in the world is hydroponics?”. Simply put, Hydroponics is the science – and art – of growing plants without soil. “Hydroponics operates under one fundamental principle,” explains Bowlus. “If you give plants exactly what they need, when they need it, in the amount they need, the plants will be as healthy as is genetically possible.” With hydroponics this is an easy task; in soil it is far more difficult.

According to Simplyhydro.com, with the hydroponics approach, plants are grown in an inert growing medium, and a perfectly balanced, pH-adjusted nutrient solution is delivered to the roots in a highly soluble form. The growing medium is the material in which the roots of the plant are growing. Possible media include Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, coconut fiber, gravel, sand and many more. All the nutrition comes from the nutrient solution (water and fertilizer combined). You can therefore, easily control everything the plants receive. The strength and pH of the nutrient solution is easy to adjust so that the plants receive just the right amount of food. The watering/feeding cycles can be controlled so that the plants get watered on schedule, as needed.

Through this increasingly popular, indoor-friendly growing method, the BiG Fab Lab hopes to bring together a diverse group of community volunteers who will meet at the Lab on Thursday evenings from 6-9 p.m. The project is free and open to the public. “Participants can just show up at the Lab on Thursday evenings and join the fun,” explains Bowlus. “We’re hoping for a diverse group of Northwest Ohioans that includes students, families, professionals, science buffs, gardeners and chefs.”

Bowlus says the meetups begin on Thursday September 29th and will continue through winter. “This is an exciting opportunity for anyone with an interest in innovative growing techniques to contribute to the project and learn as they participate with a diverse group of people,” he explains. “And as we design, build and install the hydroponics garden, we’ll be creating a community resource for healthy, fresh produce – right here in the Woodland Mall.”

The group will begin by discussing design concepts and the needs of the desired plants. Together they will draw up plans, build, install and plant the garden. The garden will be installed in the Woodland Mall atrium just outside the BiG Fab Lab doors, next to the Cinemark Theater. “We’re hoping that other mall vendors, families, business and other community members will participate in any way they can,” adds Bowlus. “That might be as part of the design and build, or maybe in helping with maintaining the garden and harvesting the plants.”

In addition to meeting at the BiG Fab Lab, the group will be using many of the Lab’s tools to complete the project, including: electronics, wood shop, metal shop, 3D printers and scanners and laser engraver.

You can join this fun and free community project on Thursdays beginning Sept. 29th from 6-9pm at the BiG Fab Lab. Interested parties can simply show up any Thursday that they’re available. Much of the produce will be donated to area food banks. Some produce will be used by Woodland Mall restaurants. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for those wanting to support this innovative community project

About BiG Fab Lab: BiG Fab Lab, LLC is a full service makerspace providing a fully-equipped creative space for engineers, artists, students, inventors and businesses in Northwest Ohio. Located in Bowling Green, Ohio, BiG Fab Lab provides equipment, classes, storage and studio space, plus personal assistance for a variety of crafting, design, manufacturing areas, and business incubation for its member community. To learn more about the BiG Fab Lab, call 419-971-4244 or visit www.BiGFabLab.com.