Rethinking Urban Agriculture: An Aquaponics Approach
This grant has allowed us to purchase, build, and begin our work surrounding aquaponics. The grant offset the cost of our grow bed, breeding tank, and our main growing tank. The grant also helped with the cost to purchase the scientific equipment to maintain water quality and quality control throughout the system. All of our students have had the opportunity to interact with the system, and many students have found a passion in the daily work surrounding the upkeep of this project. The students have seen lettuce and tomatoes growing in this closed-loop environment, and they have experienced the importance of temperature control on our fish environment. Many lessons surrounding systems thinking were also taught.
A variety of community partners have been interested in our work, and we are currently on a partnership journey with many of them. Parents and community members are learning about our program through social media and other communications forums. We were able to present our work at the NCR-SARE Farmer’s Forum at the 2012 National Small Farm Trade Show and Conference in Columbia, Missouri also. We anticipate that close to 700 people have interacted with the project at some level.
WORK PLAN FOR 2013
Our next phase of the project is to complete a winter harvest season and begin to harvest our first fish from the system. We are also looking to extend the partnership with Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri with the possibility of some students learning on campus this summer. We would also like for the system to continue to be used for lessons surrounding sustainability and water quality during the time these units are in our building.