Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic
Biology student share experiences from internships in the Arctic

Gathering information

Being north in mind

I’ve been thinking a lot of what I could do from home for the remaining period of my internship in Polar Permaculture, and Hege and I finally figured it out. I will be collecting and comparing existing data on optimal growth conditions for the kinds of herbs and salads that will be produced by the company in the future (some of it is already being produced). This will be valuable and critical when the production will be scaled up and professionalized in new facilities in the near future (one to two years). The layout and equipment have to fit the growth requirements of the plants grown, so the data I’ll be collecting will be needed prior to designing the layout and ordering equipment. This is a task that is interesting and challenging, and will require a lot of work and a bit of critical thinking when evaluating the sources. I’m glad that we found a task that is meaningful, not just something I would do to get the work hours required.

I need to find information on growth conditions such as light intensity, light spectrum, light hours per day, nutrients, temperature, air humidity and water quality. I might have to work on this more than the work hours remaining in my internship contract, because I realize it’s a huge task.

The plan is to find as much of the information as possible in scientific papers, but there’s also a lot of information elsewhere on the internet, and I’ll have to be very cautious if I use this type of information. I’m also thinking of contacting herb producers to potentially visit their production facilities and hopefully get some tips on growth conditions from them. I’m not thinking that it’s for certain that I will be able to do this, but I’m really hoping to get to see how professional production is being done, and that they will share their knowledge.

I have an exam in the end of this month (April), so most of my focus is on that right now. When the exam is done, I can start focusing more on the internship tasks, and work full days gathering information and writing the report. We have planned weekly phone meetings, and I can always call Hege or Ben whenever I have questions or need feedback or guidance.

The company is struggling a bit now, as most other companies, but hopefully there won’t be too much of a setback in Polar Permaculture’s plans for the future.

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