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University of Toronto Engineering Design Project

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University of Toronto Engineering Design Project

Postby 012anonymousxyz » Feb 04, 2014 6:38 pm

Hello!

I am an Engineering Science student at the University of Toronto. I am enrolled in an engineering design course called Praxis in which we are analyzing communities located within the GTA (with which we are not affiliated) and identifying sectors of opportunity for improvement and problems faced by the community. Multiple teams will put forth an RFP (Request For Proposal) for their specific community and problem/opportunity. Among the multiple RFPs, Doctor Robert Irish will select eight that will progress toward the next stage where all teams will design solutions for the difficulty that the community might be facing.

My team and I have decided to analyse the Gardening community and we would be delighted if you would take the time to discuss any of your challenges and inconveniences and especially your day-to-day activities!

We did some preliminary braining-storming and research and trying very hard not to bias your initial thoughts, here are some areas we thought to be of particular interest and a starting point for you:

1. Do you grow subtropical plants such as trees or flowers? If yes, which methods do you employ to keep them warm (i.e. cold weather protection methods such as micro-sprinklers)?
2. How do you currently harvest fruits from trees?
3. How much of your yield is lost during post-harvest mechanical damage or biological decay? What is the primary cause? How do you protect them?
4. How do you control pests like insects, rodents and birds? (These are inherently very different types of pests. Please treat each class of pest as its own subsection).

We are just brainstorming challenges you, as members of the Gardening community, face. This is by no means limiting. Please feel free to bring up topics, issues or areas you feel are in need of further analysis and discussion!

My team's end goal here is to define a very very specific problem. For example: reducing the damage caused by birds to peach trees. Even this is too vague because I did not define damage (caused by eating? caused by falling?), area of damage (trunk? fruit?) or the type of bird.

Also note that we can scope down or up as we see fit. Do you have some sort of disability or know someone with a disability that makes it very difficult to do some sort of particular task? Tell us! We can 'scope' to gardeners with 'x' disability.

We really appreciate your responses. If our RFP goes forward, we can really shed more exposure on the gardening community.

As a final note, as I implied at the start, this problem cannot be localized to a geographic location other than the GTA. That is to say, if the problem is a local problem, it must be one in the GTA. Otherwise, if you feel it is a generic problem that could apply anywhere, please feel free to let us know!

Thank you very much!
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Re: University of Toronto Engineering Design Project

Postby Justanotherider » Feb 04, 2014 11:05 pm

:D Interesting proposal! I'll defo be following this thread.

I don't garden in the GTA; but I struggle with powdery mildew on squash and pumpkin crops, which I am sure is not restricted to my area. I don't use sprays, so have gone over to resistant hybrids. I'd love to find some open pollinated varieties that are resistant and would welcome advice.
Just when you learn how to garden really well, you're too old to do it anymore...
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Re: University of Toronto Engineering Design Project

Postby 012anonymousxyz » Mar 07, 2014 9:51 pm

Hello again! I will direct this response to you personally, Justanotherider:

We really appreciate your reply and we seriously considered looking into minimizing/preventing fungal growth on plants. To be honest however; one of our primary concerns with the decision to analyse the gardening community was the possibility of an overwhelming response that biassed biological issues. We were a mix of computer scientists and computer/civil/mechanical engineers as opposed to bio-medical engineers.

To the general reader:

The RFPs were selected based on several criteria and unfortunately the RFP we wrote did not progress to the final stage. Anyway, we invite you all to watch for the upcoming showcase at this link: http://engsci.utoronto.ca/explore_our_p ... owcase.htm.

Thank for your time and thank you for reading this!
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Re: University of Toronto Engineering Design Project

Postby Justanotherider » Mar 08, 2014 6:46 pm

Too bad you didn't get a response from GTA gardeners - can't understand why they wouldn't have been all over this.

Thanks for the link to your project site. There are some really cool projects there. I'll be especially watching for the results of the retailer/food bank communications work, and the research on reducing contamination from roadway runoff.

Good luck with your project and your studies. I hope you get a great summer job!
Just when you learn how to garden really well, you're too old to do it anymore...
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