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The Science Behind the Magic: Living with the Land

The Disney Imagination Campus team
by The Disney Imagination Campus team

Gather ‘round, future biologists! To celebrate Earth Day, let’s prepare our “green thumbs” and learn how the greenhouses in the Living with the Land attraction at Epcot introduce sustainable practices!

Let’s take a look at the science behind the magic and explore two methods that Epcot scientists use to produce growing methods that also protect our planet.   

Integrated Pest Management

What is it? Integrated Pest Management is a way to manage pest populations in a way that is effective and economical, and minimally impacts the environment.  

How do we use it? In the greenhouses at Living with the Land, Epcot scientists introduce a type of wasp to eliminate vegetable leafminer bugs that cause damage to many of the crops. 

Where do we use it? The vegetable leafminer lays eggs inside the leaves of plants. Epcot scientists raise a type of parasitic wasp that has the ability to lay its eggs inside the leafminer larvae, killing the leafminer inside and producing a new wasp. The wasps are then released in the greenhouses to control and prevent the spread of the leafminers. 

Hydroponic Growing Systems

What is it? Hydroponic growing methods involve growing plants without the use of soil. 

How do we use it? Water is used to deliver nutrients to the plants rather than through traditional methods where nutrients are provided through the soil. 

Where do we use it? In the Creative greenhouse at Living with the Land in Epcot, plants are carried on a conveyer that allows their roots to be sprayed with a nutrient solution, be exposed to sunlight, and receive air for circulation. Plants can even be stacked on top of each other with the nutrient solution added to the topmost plant so that it can trickle down, providing food for the plants in the whole stack. This is an excellent way to save space while producing more, allowing up to 36 plants to grow in roughly one square foot of space. 

So this Earth Day, whether you are experiencing Living with the Land or working in your own home garden, consider how you can use science to help introduce innovative growing techniques that increase efficiency and productivity while decreasing the use of water and pesticides.

Ready to learn more? Check out The Science Behind the Seeds program at Walt Disney World Resort for a deeper exploration of sustainable food production.

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