A 9th grader at Harker School in San Jose, Califorina, developed water-saveing pods that keep the seeds moist. At the age of 14, Cynth Chen found out that 80 percent of the water people use in California goes to farming. So Cynthia decided to attack the problem. Cynthia explored potential ways to reduce the amount of water used to grow the fruits and vegetables we eat. She eventually decided to focus on germination. This is the stage of growth in which a seed sprouts into a seedling, It’s also a stage that often requires a lot of water — and where, Cynthia notes, a lot of water gets wasted. “Usually farmers take seeds and they spray them over the land and cover them with soil and then spray water over,” she explains. “The problem with that is that in between the seeds there’s a lot of soil. The water lays on the soil and is unable to reach the seeds. It evaporates, and thus the water is wasted.” The teen looked for a way to reduce that water waste and designed a pod for a seed. Each seed sits in a bed of soil inside a small cup. The seed and cup then sit inside a larger cup — the used filter from the inside of a single-serving coffee pod. In between the inner cup and the outer cup, Cynthia placed a layer of water crystals — small granules that absorb water and release it over time — to keep the seed inside moist. The whole capsule can break down slowly into the soil over two to three weeks.
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The creative weirdo that always has her head in the clouds.