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Growth & Jobs | Angelique Chen designs device to simplify small-space farming

18-y-o cops top prize for vertical drum planter at Denbigh 68

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2022 | 12:07 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Angelique Chen explains how to use the vertical drum planter that she created and placed on display at the recently held Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon.
Angelique Chen explains how to use the vertical drum planter that she created and placed on display at the recently held Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in Clarendon.

EIGHTEEN-YEAR-old Angelique Chen has an avid interest in science and technology, which she has combined with her strong affinity for growing crops, to design her own vertical drum planter that removes the hassle from cultivating in a small space.

The innovativee teenager, who hails from St Mary, said that her invention is very cost effective and environmentally friendly, too, as it is outfitted with an organic composter that allows for the average person to make their own organic fertiliser to grow crops.

“Earthworms are also placed into the composter to help with the process, which gives nutrients to the plants. This product also has a waste management where a PVC pipe is placed at the bottom of the drum to collect excess water and nutrients that can be used to water the plants at the topic,” she explained as she highlighted the benefits of the vertical drum planter.

“I decided to showcase it in the Eat Smart, Grow Smart competition – a vertical drum planter which can plant 40 crops in a small space. It can be place anywhere you like: on concrete, green house, veranda, etc. It is also for all age groups as people who are older in age can use the vertical drum planter. It will prevent them from bending a lot,” Chen explained as she placed her invention on display at the 68th staging of the Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show in May Pen, Clarendon, where she copped the top award in the Grow Smart Competition.

For her innovation, she earned $500,000 along with a trophy and bragging rights. The enthusiastic Chen said that it was her interest in technology and science that led her to conduct research on YouTube for ideas on systems that can aid the growing of crops. With the help of her father, she was able to design and build the vertical drum planter.

Chen, who is now in “her next chapter of her life”, was born in Jamaica but schooled in Trinidad. Now back in the land of her birth, she is now looking to further her studies in agricultural science.

Gushing about her strong like from plants and the satisfaction that comes from sowing the seeds and watching them come to fruition, she said it was inspired by her father, who is an agricultural teacher.

“I had great agriculture teachers who always made the topic interesting and always had me ready to learn more,” she noted.

Aside from constantly trying to find ways to make it easier to grow crops, Chen said she is also engaged in farming lettuce, pakchoi, corn, and cabbage at home.

Her ultimate goal is to start an agricultural business after she completes school.

cecelia.campbell@gleanerjm.com