News Show May Feature South Pole Food Growth Chamber

On Jan. 30, the CBS “Sunday Morning News Show” will feature a story about Antarctica, which may include information on the University of Arizona’s South Pole Food Growth Chamber (SPFGC)

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Lane Patterson, University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center (UA-CEAC) graduate student in the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering program, was onsite last year when recording occurred.

According to Gene Giacomelli, director of the UA-CEAC, the South Pole Food Growth Chamber is a “living” mechanical hardware system that is under continuous active environmental control, and which interacts with the people living and working at the new National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Interaction occurs either through direct contact when they are nurturing and then eating the food crops that are grown, or indirectly, as the station crew visits within the adjacent room separated by a glass wall, to experience the bright lights, green hues, and warm/humid air that can only be found at this site on the Antarctic Continent, explains Giacomelli.

“The SPFGC, somewhat like a ‘terrarium for people,’ provides fresh vegetables otherwise unattainable for much of the year, while it offers a bit of nature closer to our natural body temperature than Antarctic temperatures,” he explains. “This has proven beneficial to the psychological well-being for people working in an extreme environment.”

American Vegetable Grower has covered the topic of how growing vegetables at the coldest place on Earth presents a unique set of challenges.
to read “Pole Grown.”

For more information on the SPFGC, go to http://ag.arizona.edu/ceac/south-pole.