Powell scholars presenting the Verdevis system to Toyon Middle School in Valley Springs, CA in April, 2016.

The Powell Scholars Program is the premier academic merit program at University of the Pacific. Endowed by Robert and Jeannette Powell in 2009, it is made up of academically talented students in majors throughout the university. Thanks to the Powells, the Program provides opportunities to engage in a progressive community of students who value leadership, scholarship, creativity, and service. The Verdevis project is exemplary of the sorts of inter-disciplinary and original activities the Powell Scholars embrace.

The Verdevis project has spanned nearly two years of planning, designing, testing, iterating, and implementing an intensive system for growing microgreens. The original challenge the Powell Scholars posed to themselves in fall, 2014 was to create a novel intensive growing device for providing fresh food year round, which is environmentally sustainable, water efficient, portable, durable, scalable, cost effective, productive and intuitive to use. The project was undertaken with two partners in mind who would benefit from the system: the Food Bank in San Andreas, California, and the Calaveras School System.

The project also carries an educational impact. We encourage those who use it not only to understand various aspects of microgreens and the system itself, but also to consider implications to resource sustainability. With hope, others will be inspired to experiment both with the system and growing methods the Powell Scholars have developed. The Powell Scholars have an even more ambitious goal: that the project will galvanize others to create their own innovative ways of addressing the many problems we face in our world.

To read more about the Powell Scholars Program, please visit this page.