Students Feed Learning Skills
While Considering How to Feed Future Cities

This fall, middle school students from across the nation are being challenged to think about how to produce enough food for the planet’s growing population in the 2014/2015 DiscoverE Future City Competition. Ohio students and professional mentors are asked to participate.

Last year, 80 Ohio middle school students participated in the state competition, and for 2014-15, the state Future City organization hopes to see more students get involved.

This year’s theme “Feeding Future Cities,” encourages students to explore today’s urban agriculture, from aeroponic systems for roof top farms to recycled gray water to the sustainability-driven farm-to-table movement, and develop a futuristic solution to growing crops within the confines of their city. Teams from more than 15 regions across Ohio will present their ideas before judges at an Ohio Regional Finals on Jan. 17, 2015.

The winning team will represent Ohio at the national finals being held in Washington, D.C., during National Engineer’s Week, Feb. 22-28, 2015. The national finals champion team will receive a trip to U.S. Space Camp in Huntsville, Al. provided by National Finals host Bentley Systems Inc.

During the competition, student teams work together to design a virtual city using SimCity™ software. They research an issue and write an essay about their findings and solutions. They build a tabletop-scale model of their city using recycled materials that cost no more than $100, and write a brief narrative to promote their project. At a regional competition, they can present their final project to a panel of judges. DiscoverE Future City Competition puts student competitors in real-world situations and asks them to be the problem solvers as they brainstorm ideas and design solutions. Students develop teamwork and presentation skills and gain the opportunity to see themselves in the role of making their world a better place.

For more information, or to register a team and learn how to find an engineering mentor, please contact Ohio’s Future City program at http://www.futurecity.org/Ohio. The deadline to register is Oct. 31, 2014. If you are interested in participating as an engineer or technical mentor, also check the Ohio Future City website.

About the Future City Competition

This year’s competition is held from September 2014 through February 2015. DiscoverE is the new title for the former National Engineers Week Foundation. Future City is a program that allows middle school students to explore careers in engineering.

Major funding for the national finals comes from Bentley Systems Inc. and Shell Oil Company. In Ohio, major sponsors include Xylem and AEP. Additional sponsors include Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund. The IBI Group/ME Companies is the Ohio competition’s host organization.


The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1972 to consolidate efforts to protect and improve air quality, water quality and waste management in Ohio. Since then, air pollutants dropped by as much as 90 percent; large rivers meeting standards improved from 21 percent to 89 percent; and hundreds of polluting, open dumps were replaced with engineered landfills and an increased emphasis on waste reduction and recycling.

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