Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Biological Engineering

Degree Level



Biological and Agricultural Engineering


Osborn, G. Scott

Committee Member/Reader

Le, Kieu

Committee Member/Second Reader

Ward, Peggy


Hydroponics is an agricultural technique in which plants are grown without soil and are instead grown in water systems that include nutrients and other growth-supporting media. Hydroponic systems typically reside inside, so that the system can be fully controlled by the grower by manipulating the temperature and amount of light the plants receive. The benefits of growing plants using hydroponics include: the amount of water used is reduced, it is less labor to grow organic produce with an indoor system, less space used, and it allows for growing food anywhere. Tri Cycle Farms is planning for the construction of a Hydro House to contain hydroponics systems. Products from this facility will provide a source of sustainable income, an opportunity for education in the community, and a means to battle food insecurity. Tri Cycle hopes to enhance its capacity to be self-sustaining through its Hydro House project. For this project, I designed one of the hydroponic systems that will be in the Hydro House and created an educational module that can be utilized by nearby elementary schools. This meets two of the goals of Tri Cycle by providing community education and a sustainable agricultural method to fight food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas. The hydroponics system that I have designed is a Deep Flow Technique (DFT) hydroponic system where the plants are placed in a floating raft on top of a water reservoir containing a plant nutrient solution. An air compressor and bubbler provide the necessary dissolved oxygen to the plant’s roots. The lighting of the system was designed to grow basil but could easily be adjusted to grow other crops. I have also worked to create an education module that meets the State of Arkansas science education standards for 5th grade students. This educational opportunity will allow Tri Cycle to teach elementary students not only about hydroponic systems, but also why these systems are important to support Tri Cycle’s missions including water conservation, battling food insecurity, and the importance of sustainable farming practices. This report demonstrates the processes to design the DFT system, the components in the system that needed to be monitored, a demonstrative educational poster, and discussion of the steps to be taken to fully implement the multiple goals for the Hydro House for Tri Cycle Farms.


hydroponics, Tri Cycle Farms, Elementary Education, Sustainability, Water Conservation