Starting in the Fall semester of 2015 with 15 members, the EPICS-REAP (Engineering Projects In Community Service – ReEntry And Preparedness) team has been the primary source of engineering for the REAP Worker Owned Cooperative Greenhouse Initiative. Initially separating up into 4 sub teams: Agriculture, Architecture, Power and Water; the first step was to figure out what the main intention of the project was to be. Meeting at least once a week with Carol Manetta and Greg Smith for those first few months was normal as the size of the project warranted that time was taken to figure out the deeper underlying causes of the problems to be solved. After all that could be done talking with Carol and Greg it was then time to meet with those who would be the day to day users of the facility. On Wednesday November 11th, 2015, the team caravanned up to the site on the Navajo Nation land in northeastern Arizona. Only armed with questions, multiple cameras and basic surveying equipment a site survey was made and firmer understanding of the client was obtained. Using this information, each team formed an initial technical memorandum (found right); adding up to over 20 pages of facts based research and over 400 photos.

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     Illeyah Hoek acting as reference point for site survey data 

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     View from North East side of site 

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     Greg Smith (Left), Ian Voght (rear), Tyler Jackson (front) 
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     Illeyah Hoek (left), Jared Hearn (right) 

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     Preexisting attempts have been made. Unfortunatley wind gusts have made attempts unsuccessful. 

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     Preexisting concrete slab on property. 

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     Preexisting solar and greenhouse attempt. 

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     Shack planned for removal. 

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     Preexisting solar and planted trees. 

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     Site perspective 

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     Local area environment 

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     From left to right: Jared Hearn, Berney Mendoza, Greg Smith, Illeyah Hoek 

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     Existing built environment to remain. 

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     Illeyah Hoek (left), Bill Edwards (right) 

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     Existing water capture on site. 

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     Existing solar panel array to be mimicked. 

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     Random dry well on site. 

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     Team members meeting with Bill Edwards (right), site owner. 

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     Proposed area on site for greenhouse 

That next semester, Spring 2016, found the team needing to define the problems statement further as beginning conceptualization of solutions was met with further refinements of constraints on the team. This necessitated more research about possible solutions and the pros and cons of each solution to come up with an underlying framework which the team would base their future decisions on. An example of this research included nutrient inputs and its sources. Preliminary ideas were to have large amounts of fertilizer salts on premises to facilitate the nutrient requirement, but this was neither economical or culturally feasible for the Tolani Lake area. Using fish as an input wasn’t an option either as there isn’t a large consumption of fish within the Navajo Nation. Towards the end of the semester the team finally had the problem nailed and started to work on prototype designs. From the Fall of 2016 to the time of this writing the team has worked on various prototypes, including: the vertical growing solution, vermiculture and grow bags. On top of this, initial renderings have been made showing the teams implementation of the systems within the rendered greenhouse and future iterations aim to integrate the original survey data gathered to produce a truer to life visualization of the finalized project. More information about the engineering specifics can be found within the engineering section of the Learning Center.

Within the four semesters of the EPICS-REAP project over 20 students have taken part. Ranging from Aeronautical, Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical and Biomedical Engineers to those who are not even studying engineering, the dedication has been nothing short of astounding. Though the Fall 2015 semester had 15 members, the Spring 2016, Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 have had 13, 5, and 5 members respectively. As such it is only fitting to make mention of their names and dates of service.

Current Members (Spring 2017)

Rohan Shah
Team Lead
May 2017 - Current
Chelsea Pennington
Power Team Member
Spring 2017 - Current
Andrew Nelson
Water Team Lead
Fall 2015 - Current
Nicholas Ochoa
Agriculture Team Lead
Spring 2016 - Current
Noah Morgan
Architecture Team Lead
Spring 2016 - Current

Honorable Mentions

Taylor Davis
Team Lead
Fall 2015
Anisa Abdul-Quadir
Agriculture Team Lead
Fall 2015
Christine Carmazzi
Agriculture Team Member
Fall 2016
Tyler Jackson
Team Lead
Spring 2016 - Current

Previous Semester Team Mates

Stephen Lane
Water Team Member
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Marissa Palermo
Architecture Team Lead
Fall 2015
Samuel Perez
Power Team Lead
Spring 2016
Jared Hearn
Architecture Team Member
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Ian Voght
Agriculture Team Member
Fall 2015
Ryan Tenorio
Water Team Member
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Christian Carter
Agriculture Team Member
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Travis Rowitsch
Water Team Member
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Graydon Blount
Power Team Member
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Illeyah Hoek
Power Team Member
Fall 2015 - Spring 2016
Emma Tittsworth
Architecture Team Lead
Spring 2016
Jon Reyes
Power Team Member
Fall 2015
Berney Mendoza
Agriculture Team Member
Fall 2015