Pathways to Produce: Learning to Maximize Aquaponics Systems for Local Food Production

Project Overview

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2020: $4,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Saint Louis Science Center Foundation
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Manager:
Beth Kastner
Saint Louis Science Center Foundation
Project Co-Managers:
Maddie Earnest
Saint Louis Science Center
Pattie LaBrott
Saint Louis Science Center


  • Animals: fish


  • Animal Production: aquaculture
  • Education and Training: youth education
  • Production Systems: aquaponics
  • Sustainable Communities: urban agriculture

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will harness the aquaponics greenhouse’s capacity as a learning laboratory for aquaponics management and will educate and inspire youth through both informal science education and internships. A micronutrient solution will be incorporated into an established aquaponics system as an experiment to improve plant performance and results will be shared with and directly observed by young visitors. Youth interns will take the lead on measuring crop performance and communicating lessons learned through online blog postings and visitor interactions. Improved signage will address hydro/aquaponics as sustainable sources for local urban production of certain crops and highlight related career opportunities.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Engage and educate youth on the technical challenges of indoor and aquaponics food production while implementing a revised nutrient supplement process.
    2. Showcase the iterative process of troubleshooting a typical aquaponics system and teach visiting families and youth audiences about sustainable agriculture.
    3. Engage families in demonstrations and discussions about the profitability, sustainability, and community benefits of urban agriculture through the GROW gallery and SciFest community events.
    4. Engage urban students in aquaponics through sustainable-agriculture-themed field trips.
    5. Communicate information on aquaponics via blog postings, visitor engagement, and enhanced signage in the greenhouse.
    6. Provide aquaponics training and agriculture-career information to teen interns.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.