Ph (630) 394–0535

251 Cass Street, #503
Niles, Michigan 49120

 

Jump into our Facebook group: 

© 2017–19  Dom De Bellis International

Field Lab Program

STEM Education
And Sustainability

At The Local Level

Field Labs deploy organic food and clean energy in their communities while conducting STEM research. Student-led crews share research from their Field Labs using our curriculum and its operational platform. As organic food and clean energy centers, they model sustainability and benefit community, partnering with schools, Scouting, local government, and NGO along with local businesses whose local roots run deep. Field Labs are innovation engines, fueling entrepreneurial opportunities to make cities stronger, more vibrant, and more sustainable.

 

As The Urban Ranch & Farm Project's founder and director, I wanted to deploy the URFP's knowledge base, operating platform, and curriculum globally as efficiently and productively as possible. The Field Lab Program harness the energies and talents of individuals working in local teams to achieve sustainable, stronger cities through the URFP with the objective of spreading this knowledge far and wide, so that people everywhere would benefit from growing fresh organic food to feed their families and sell for profit while establishing their energy independence. The program functions as an innovation engine, empowering local economies with entrepreneurial opportunities. As each Field Lab grows organic food, harvests rainwater, processes compost, and generates sustainable energy, it is teaching others in their community and throughout the world with the help of other Field Lab Crews. Through the Field Lab Program, the URFP stewards the knowledge base of every Field Lab's experiences while educating, equipping, and empowering his program's members . . . And, of course, it's always improving The Urban Ranch & Farm Project's operating platform and curriculum and disseminating them throughout the membership.

 

My new book is the idea virus, the curriculum at the heart of Field Labs, which teams youth and adult leaders in their communities to learn STEM skills as they grow organic food and produce green energy. We are the ones who use it to change the world. This Facebook group is our support system. 2019 is the year we break it wide open. We have a goal to charter 10 new Field Labs quarterly. If you're an educator, parent, or interested adult, please contact me. I'd love to have your support.

 

 

What Exactly Is a "Field Lab?"

 

A "Field Lab" is a unit chartered by a Sponsoring Organization with The Urban Ranch & Farm Project to establish, to build, operate, and share the knowledge they gain from an urban farm in their area. Field labs can be chartered by any organization. They're operated by teams of people under adult supervision, what we call "Crew Members."  Supervisory adults are "Crew Leaders" who represent the Sponsoring Organization that chartered the Field Lab. The Crew operates their Field Lab to grow organic food, harvest rainwater, processing compost, generate clean energy, and teach others.

 

What Exactly Is a "Sponsoring Organization?"

 

Each Field Lab must have a sponsor organization to register under our program. Sponsors may be a municipal government, school, religious group, commercial enterprise, association, non-government organization, or nonprofit organization that agrees to provides space and/or funding to the Field Lab to operate. The Field Lab Sponsor pays annual dues for Field Lab registration and individual Crew Members under this program. 

 

Once you register your new Field Lab and pay your registration fee, you should direct any of your new Crew Members to register individually to maintain their individual status in good standing and stay informed on program updates, Field Lab reports, access to group resources, and other benefits.

 

Individual Field Lab Crew Members must register on this page to be recognized on your Field Crew. Sponsoring Organization are expected to cover annual dues for their Field Lab Charter Registration as well as annual dues for individual Crew Members.

 

You must be current on all dues to remain a Field Lab in good standing with The Urban Ranch & Farm Project.

 

What Exactly Is The Field Lab "Crew Leader?"

 

This adult (at least age 18) Crew Member must be approved by the Sponsoring Organization that has chartered their own Field Lab under our program. This adult oversees, supervises, and assumes ultimate responsibility for all the Field Lab's operations. Also, he/she serves as the point of contact between the Field Lab Crew and the URFP Director, advising the Director on potential uses and applications in the Field Lab's local area for socially responsible community service as well as for-profit markets. The Crew Leader ideally has leadership ability, manages people and resources effectively, and is entrepreneurial in nature.  

 

What Exactly Are "Crew Members?"

 

Crew Members are student–scientists selected by the Sponsoring Organization and commissioned by The Urban Ranch & Farm Project to build, operate, and share the knowledge they gain from their experiences. Every Crew Member has access to the URFP Director and other Field Labs operating worldwide through The Urban Ranch & Farm Project. The various roles that make up an ideal, fully functional Field Lab Crew include:

 

Aquarist Lead: This is the TEAM LEAD and caretaker of fish and aquatic fauna; the life of aquatic animal species within water systems are his/her ultimate responsibility; works closely with the Water Quality Lead. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Flora or Botany Lead: This is the TEAM LEAD and caretaker of flora; the life of plant species is his/her ultimate responsibility. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area and contribute to other Field Groups through the members-only Facebook Group. May be selected to share on monthly webinars. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Aviary Lead: This is the TEAM LEAD and caretaker of bird species; the life of all bird species are his/her ultimate responsibility. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Small Mammals Lead: This is the TEAM LEAD and caretaker of mammal species (especially meat rabbits) caretaker; the life of all mammalian species are his/her ultimate responsibility. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Invertebrates Lead: This is the TEAM LEAD and caretaker of invertebrate species (e.g., crickets, beetles, bot flies, earthworms, crayfish) caretaker; the life of all invertebrate species (except bees) are his/her ultimate responsibility. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Apiary Lead: This is the TEAM LEAD and caretaker of honeybee species; the life of all honeybee species are his/her ultimate responsibility. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Water Quality Lead: This is the TEAM LEAD and caretaker of greywater systems, rain capture and storage, irrigation of aquaculture crops; water purity, filtration, and pH; all things water are his/her ultimate responsibility; works closely with the Aquarist Lead. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Energy & Power Lead: TEAM LEAD in the area of managing energy and its production, storage, use, conservation, and processing within the system; all things energy are his/her ultimate responsibility. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

Waste Management Lead: TEAM LEAD in the area of caretaking waste from its production, and disposal through its reclamation and processing for upcycling its use within the system; all things waste are his/her ultimate responsibility. Designs lab experiments to support this mission and instructs fellow Crew Members how to carry them out. Documents this particular experience in writing and photographs so as to train fellow Crew Members in this particular area. (Reports to URFP Field Lab Crew Leader.)

 

The Field Lab's Crew Members are directed by the Field Lab Crew Leader.

 

Crew Member Responsibilities

 

  • Keep abreast of industry developments and best practices; testing, implementing, and documenting within our Field Lab for experimentation. This goes for all functional areas, not just your area of expertise

 

  • Under the direction of your respective Lead, perform laboratory tests designed by the Lead, including pre- and post-analytic phases, measuring, recording, and analysis. Prepare samples/specimens properly, the first time. Don’t waste your own or others’ time. Contribute your ideas, analysis, and recommendations to the best of your ability.

 

  • When you are the Lead, design laboratory tests and experiments that fulfill URFP objectives and make the best use of your fellow Crew Members. Solicit their contributions and respect them by asking good questions, including them in decisions, and awarding credit where it’s been earned. We rise and fall as a CREW, not as individuals.

 

  • Produce accurate and reliable data and interpret results; document in reports and articles for web Knowledge Base and sharing with other URFP Field Labs. These include videos that share your progress.

 

  • Design, construct, and maintain work area (real world and on the Web), including operating structures and containment units for livestock (flora and fauna) within the system.

 

  • Follow methodologies in carrying routine tasks as defined by URFP and Field Lab Crew Leader.

 

  • Research relevant topics and gather information/data.

 

  • Adhere to correct procedures, policies, and health/safety guidelines.

 

  • Document all activities on video, record results on Google spreadsheets, and insert/retrieve data as needed; share documentation and data as prescribed by the URFP Director and Field Lab Crew Leader. Remember that everything you contribute is for the success of the URFP's mission, so what you share with us will be added to our curriculum and shared with other Field Labs and program students. We're working hard to spread this knowledge base, curriculum, and operating platform far and wide.

 

  • Provide practical and administrative assistance to fellow Crew Members as needed.

 

What Functional Areas Make Up Field Lab Operations?

 

Each Field Lab creates its own work area that carries out different functions for the Field Lab. A fully-operational Field Lab includes these functions:

 

Water Reclamation and Conservation

Cisterns, grey water systems, rain capture and storage, irrigation; a major component of our sustainability program

 

Power Plant

Solar, wind; self-sustaining the Field Lab with the objective of selling surplus power to the grid; we develop solutions to deploy as green power projects in our city

 

Biodiesel Plant

Turning spent vegetable oil and fresh algae into biodiesel fuel for City vehicles fleet; we develop solutions to deploy as green power projects in our city

 

Waste Management

Composting, vermiculture, soil management, and conservation; a major component of our sustainability program; we develop solutions to deploy as green projects in our city

 

Apiary

Bees living in hives, coming and going to bring pollen, feed and rear young, and service their queen; with their output including honey and wax we produce and sell soap, candles, and raw honey; mobile crews take our hives to pollinate local farms for extra income

 

Greenhouse

Integrated with irrigation, vermiculture/composting, biomass, and fish farming operation; producing food for local consumption and for institutional sale

 

Organic Pest Control

Bat houses, predatory insects/arachnids, all indigenous to the locale; no chemicals allowed

 

“Back to Nature” Wildlife Refuges and Havens

Biodiversity is the objective; no lawns; indigenous groundcover, gravel, waterscapes; low-impact trails that preserve landscape features and do no harm to wildlife

 

Aviary

Organically fed, free-range birds of heirloom species: chicken, ducks, quail; laying hens and meat birds.

 

Aquatic Nursery

Indigenous fish species bred and released to stock waterways throughout the state in partnership with state DNR; also used in our own fisheries

 

Meat Rabbit Habitat

Rabbits bred for meat, producing food for local consumption and for institutional sale

 

Invertebrate Habitat

Raising earthworms, beetles, crickets, and others for livestock feed, composting, and to sell for a profit in pet food, bait, and gardening mark

What Qualifications Are Required to Make It Onto a Field Lab Crew?

 

First, of course, your Field Lab must be chartered with our program with a Crew  URFP's Field Lab program with a supervising Crew Leader in place. To receive your Crew Leader's sponsorship and nomination for Crew Member consideration, you must be able to demonstrate: 

 

  • Strong interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields

 

  • Ability to problem-solve and the initiative of a self-starter are key attributes, as is a team player attitude; this company must work together and share the load to be successful together, so there's no room for egos or prima donnas here

 

  • Basic construction and assembly, particularly use of PVC cement, silicone caulk, heavy duty staples, etc.; skill with power tools (e.g., DREMEL, drill, saw, etc.) and hand tools preferred

 

  • Proven experience in lab environment; familiarity with basic laboratory equipment (e.g., microscope, pH meter, thermostats, light meter, water quality test kits, etc.) preferred

 

  • Proven experience in keeping fish happy, healthy, and happy in freshwater aquarium, with fish breeding experience preferred; if not, we will train the candidate with fundamental aquaculture knowledge and a passion to learn

 

  • Proven experience in gardening (e.g., herbs, veggies, fruit) preferred; if not, we will train the candidate with fundamental botany knowledge and a passion to learn

 

  • Familiarity with aquarium-keeping equipment (e.g., pumps, filters, heaters, thermostats, thermometers, etc.)

 

  • Computer literacy (PC, office apps, video recording/editing/uploading and basic web design/content development proficiency; Arduino, mobile app programming, and backend web development preferred

 

  • Strong analytical skills; accuracy and close attention to detail

 

  • Good judgment and follow-through on projects; independent study, resourcefulness, and self-sufficiency are all a must to be successful on this Crew  

What Do You Think? . . . Are You Ready To Change Your Community?