Arnav Adhikari, a 17 year-old Carnegie Vanguard high school student and garden volunteer, has tested and deployed an intelligent watering system to save water in the raised bed #6. He, with the help of his family and and garden board member/engineer, Adrian Francis, installed a SmartSprout irrigation system prototype, which assesses the soil moisture to determine if a bed’s water supply should turn on or not. The system prevents water loss from the bed and saves water by turning off the supply automatically based on the soil moisture readings. This helps grow a healthier and productive crop while being cost efficient. In the coming months, the Arnav hopes to expand SmartSprout to the other 8 beds.
From a young age, Arnav has been passionate about engineering and finding ways to apply technological solutions in real life projects. On witnessing the social and environmental impacts of food deserts in India, Houston, and a few other US cities, he developed an interest in addressing this problem through technology by ensuring that fresh produce was accessible to everyone and grown in the most resourceful way, conserving water as well as time and money. He leveraged his technical skills to invent and develop a simple prototype called SmartSprout that promotes effective crop growth. Arnav is grateful for the opportunity to implement SmartSprout at the City of Southside Place Community Garden and continues to work on, improve, and share his solution. He cherishes the helpful feedback from the garden members and city council, valuable guidance and support from his parents, and his sister’s, Kashika Adhikari’s, motivation and outreach. In the future, Arnav wants to continue to apply his technical and entrepreneurial skills to create an even larger impact on addressing food desert issues in communities.