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Institute of Simplified Hydroponics

Sweet Potato Project to End Hunger

After experimenting with staple food crops using simplified hydroponic technology, we have settled upon the sweet potato as the best bet to end hunger.

While experiments continue with a wide variety of crops, we are introducing the sweet potato crop for home experiments world wide.

We have excellent results with using sweet potato as a crop to provide food for the family.

Sweet Potato as a Survival Food

In 1921, George Washington Carver testified before US Congress. In this testimony he presented a food before the committee, a breakfast food. He stated,"

"Now this is a combination and, by the way, one of the finest breakfast foods that you or anyone has ever seen."

"It is a combination of sweet potato and the peanut, and if you will pardon a little digression here, I will state that the peanut and the sweet potato are twin brothers and should not be separated. They are two of the greatest products that God has ever given us. They can be made into a perfectly balanced ration. If all the other foodstuffs were destroyed - that is, vegetable foodstuffs were destryed - a perfectly balanced ration with all the nutriment in it could be made with the sweet potato and the peanut. From the sweet potato we get starches and carbohydrates and from the peanut we get all the muscle-building properties."

George Washington Carver was an African American who was born in slavery. His understanding of the sweet potato and peanut was a part of his culture.

Carver was a professor at Tuskegee Institute, and experimented with methods of growing both sweet potato and peanut. He was able to grow 240 bushels of sweet potato from a single acre when most farmers only produced 40 bushels. A bushel is about 50 pounds, to this amounted to an increase from 2000 pounds and acre to 12000 pounds per acre.

One of the reasons that Carver worked with sweet potatoes was a long standing tradition of the American slaves to grow sweet potatoes as a survival food. The founder of Tuskegee was also born into slavery and remained a slave until Freedom in 1862 when he was about 8 years old. In his book,Up from Slavery, Booker T Washington described the cabin of his youth.The small cabin had an earth floor, and in the floor there were a few loose boards that covered a pit dug in the ground. The potato pit was a common feature to slave cabins and was a place to store sweet potatoes through the winter.

The ISH experiments and trials are using both sweet potato and peanut. The sweet potato experiments have been so sucessful, we are releasing the information, asking homeowners to start growing sweet potatoes as a survival food. The peanut will be released later, perhaps in spring or 2018.

Sweet potato growing protocol

We have tried growing sweet potatoes in several different methods and have success with quite a few.

Colombia trials

In Colombia, Cesar Marulanda has been growing sweet potatoes in discarded tires. He cuts the tires in two lengthwise, making two growing containers. He raises these tire growers up to 36" in the air using boards as legs.

The tire growers were filled with a substrate of 30% poor soil, 30% grey river sand, 30% rice hull and 10% compost from home residues.

He had excellent productivity, harvesting sweet potatoes in 95 days. Each grower produced 8 sweet potatoes of about 3 pounds each, or 24 pounds sweet potato per grower.

The tire growing space is about 3 square feet, so this amounts to a production of about 72 pounds per square meter.

The tire growers can be used for more than one season, so they could, if used for three seasons, produce an amazing 216 pounds per square meter.

Fair Play Missouri trials

In Fair Play, missouri we planted 5 plastic container growers with a local sweet potato and a larger trial of commercial beauregard sweet potato. The entire crop of beauregards were poor performers due to insect attack.Insect control is a necessity.

The plastic containers did produce and averaged about 20 pounds per square meter. For this to continue through the year would require a greenhouse in the temperate climate of Missouri.

Bangladesh trials

The trials in Bangladesh have been hampered by insect attack.


The sweet potatoes show a very strong potential to help a family in poverty end hunger. The use of simplified hydroponics will allow sweet potatoes to be grown in smaller spaces.

ISH is now releasing these trial information and asks for families to begin trials in their own gardens.

Protocols used

Start up kits to begin sweet potatoes are available at our catalog.

Research now

The insects have been a problem is most of the trials. We are working with experts now on finding a routine natural method of controlling insects.


The first trials on peanuts have started at the Fair Play, Mo site.

Peanuts are hard the germinate if birds and rodents are present. They need to be started in a protected area. We have this year established peanut in perlite trays, but poor production so far.

The peanut has interesting challenges. Because it is a legume, we can reduce nitrogen requirements if we establish the Mycorrhizal fungus in the substrate. If we can get the peanut stay in bloom, it might be possible to increase peanut production to a steady supply.

The past efforts of simplified hydroponics to end hunger have been hampered by the lack of a steady supply of a staple food. This breakthrough could be an important step in ending hunger. Any people or group willing to help us establish this protocol would be greatly appreciated.

As 30,000 people die of hunger every day, your efforts could help us see if our technology can reduce or end this terrible condition.

We owe a debt to our US slave population, African culture and tradition and the spirit of people of the past to find a means to survive.

Revised: October 31, 2016
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