As the world's population grows, sustainable food production and consumption has emerged as a complex biological problem. Managing this problem will require informed action by all citizens, which necessitates heightened comprehension of complicated quantitative datasets from multiple sources of information. This makes it imperative that undergraduates develop quantitative skills and information literacy in the context of biology. This laboratory module provides a framework for conducting discovery experiments that examine the resource demand (i.e., water use) of cultivation methods (compost-based, hydroponic) and their impact on the nutritional value of microgreens. Students use experimental and published data to compare the nutritional value and resource demands of microgreens to that of vegetables produced on industrial farms. Quantitative analyses culminate in critical thinking and discussion through which students come to a consensus on the potential of microgreens to be a sustainably produced crop that serves human nutritional needs.
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Vol. 79 • No. 5