STEM Academy Local Leaders At A Glance

Stem Academy Local Leaders standing next to their 4 newly built tower gardens, along with their faculty advisor Mr. Piasecki. Pictured: Rachelle, Marima, Kam'ren, Desean, Deshawn, and Mr. Piasecki

STEM Academy Local Leaders, Chester, PA

One year ago, STEM Academy welcomed the creation of their greenhouse – a place to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for their school and community that live in a food desert. 

However, there is a major issue: 

During the winter months, the greenhouse is completely unusable due to freezing temperatures. 

To mend this, STEM Academy Local Leaders decided to implement Tower Gardens in their faculty advisors large room. 

Although simple sounding, these Tower Gardens,(also known as Hydroponic systems), can produce a mass amount of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs in as little as 30 days. All of which are grown with minimal water, no sunlight, and no soil. 

To carry out their project, club members met with Mr. Ritz, the founder of the Green Bronx Machine and a Tower Gardening wizard.

During this lively meeting, club members learn the ins and outs of sustainable food production and how to work their newfound tech of tower gardening. 

By January, the tower gardens were ordered. By February our students had all four of them built, seeds germinating, and now in March we look forward to our first round of crops. 

Looking to the future, STEM Academy Local Leaders have the following goals:

  1. Executing their field trip to visit Mr. Ritz in the Bronx and learn about giving back to the community and fundraising 
  2. Creating a written proposal for additional funding to provide solar powered heating to their greenhouse, to increase the productivity of their food production operation
  3. Collaborating with Chester High 
  4. Securing a place as a grower in the West Chester Grower Market
  5. Working with their after-school culinary program to incorporate the foods they grow at school 

The future is looking very green for our Local Leaders at STEM Academy 


Hear From STEM Academy Faculty Advisor: 

Local leader has been a great chance for the students to be empowered to make a difference in Chester. They have been tasked with making real decisions that affect the outcome of the projects we are working on. For high school students, they have a lot of autonomy and responsibility. The opportunity to think, plan, and act has been well supported by the GGI and their partners.

Mr. Piasecki, STEM Academy Faculty Advisor