MSEG Root Crop Washer (SP0118)

Status: COMPLETED October 2013 - 2017

The McGill Student Ecological Garden operates a 1 1/4 acre farm on the Macdonald Campus to produce local food stuffs from various different crops and farm animals. The MSEG Root Crop Washer is a small-scale root crop (carrots, turnips etc.) washing machine that the organization uses to increase the efficiency and efficacy of the produce cleaning process while decreasing the amount of physical exertion required.

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The McGill Student Ecological Garden (MSEG) is a student run organization that operates on a 1 1⁄4 acre ecological farm on Macdonald Campus. MSEG applies sustainable agricultural practices to produce local vegetable crops. Current practices involve a substantial amount of manual labor associated with planting, harvesting, and cleaning all the produce.

The MSEG root washer is an a innovative cleaning method that can effectively clean, produce and maintain the student-run organization’s level of environmental sustainability. Adequate cleaning is a critical operation in the production and distribution of fresh produce. This is especially true for small-scale agricultural operatiosn such as the MSEG. The root crop washer is used by the MSEG to greatly increase the efficiency and efficacy of the cleaning process while decreasing the amount of physical exertion required.

Applying engineering design concepts and analysis a small scale root crop washer was designed from computer model simulation to a working prototype. Starting from a barrel washer concept, the small scale root crop washer was redesigned to lessen crop quality degradation during processing. Consisting of a square metal frame, and using a combination of spray nozzles and rotating brushes the washer cleans crops individually, having minimal interaction with the greens. It is intended that this project can operate as a sustainable  washing alternative to  meet the needs of MSEG and their agricultural practices.

Resources from the SPF have been used to acquire materials to construct the barrel root washer such as hoses, brushes, gear components, and framework components.

Idealistically, this system can be copied and implemented in rural countries which depend on cultivating and washing their crops for sustenance, as this unique system helps efficiently disperse the water in the process of cleaning the crops, minimizing waste.

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Group

Macdonald Student-run Ecological Gardens

Contact

katherine.walker2 [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Katherine Walker) (Project Leader)

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