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Texas A&M undergraduate initiates urban farm on campus

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Seedlings are planted in the towers where they will remain until they reach maturity and are harvested. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Beth Ann Luedeker)

Vertical farm project helps provide fresh vegetables to students while advancing agriculture

By Beth Ann Luedeker
Agri Life Today
Jan 1, 2020


TUFU is an urban farm that utilizes tower gardens or vertical towers that produce high-value/specialty crops in a space-conscious technique via hydroponic growing methods.

The project, started by Saxton, is in a greenhouse on the Texas A&M campus. It currently includes 24 towers in which a variety of produce is grown, with plenty of room to expand.

The urban farm project began as a collaboration between Saxton and Lisette Templin, an instructional assistant professor from Texas A&M’s Department of Health and Kinesiology.

“I have dreamed of running greenhouses in this form,” Saxton said. “Using the knowledge obtained from my degree, I want to help people have better access to greater food, all while ingraining hydroponic farming into the university. My experience in this process has been completely driven by networking and passion. This is what I want a career in.”

Saxton earned his bachelor’s degree in plant and environmental soil science Dec. 13.

“Hydroponics have huge potential to benefit many people,” he said. “When I approached the Texas A&M Office of Sustainability with my idea of a vertical farm project, they suggested I partner with Ms. Templin, who had approached them with a similar idea.”

Templin has a tower garden on her patio, which feeds her family of four.

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