Feeding Flint: Budding Aquaponics Program Plans to Engage Youth and Neighborhoods

Photo courtesy of Kettering University.

Photo courtesy of Kettering University.

Kettering University and Metro Community Development in Flint, Michigan, are working together to build an aquaponics farm that could eventually feed area neighborhoods.

Metro Community Development first approached Kettering University to help research and plan the potential aquaponics facility, says Dr. Matthew Sanders, professor and director of the Center for Culminating Undergraduate Experiences at Kettering University.  Read more

Tennessee Church Finds Ministry in Hydroponic Farming

Photo courtesy of Harvest Farms

Photo courtesy of Harvest Farms

Cedar Point Church in Maryville, Tennessee started growing its hydroponic garden for two reasons: to develop a program offering a sustainable and healthy food source to its church family, and to build a sense of partnership between church members and the community.

While the garden is still in its early stages (it was started about three months ago), Kurt Steinbach, the church’s lead pastor is enthusiastic about the growing produce. Currently, Harvest Farms Co-op, the name of the church’s hydroponic gardening operation, grows several varieties of tomato, bell pepper, hot banana peppers, Anaheim peppers, green leaf lettuce varieties, eggplant, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and green beans. In late June, the co-op was preparing for its first harvest. Read more

Detroit Aquaponics Business Combines High-Tech Ag, Social Justice Mission

Image Credit: David Sands

Image Credit: David Sands

Many of Detroit’s urban agriculture ventures have a down-on-the-farm feel to them, but not the CDC Farm & Fishery. If anything, with its tubes and tanks, the business seems downright futuristic. You see, the Farm & Fishery is among the first aquaponic operations to set up in Detroit following the passage of an urban agriculture ordinance last year.

Aquaponic is a term that describes enterprises where aquatic creatures are raised and their wastewater is recirculated to help grow plants that in turn filter it for reuse. Located in a two-level building in the North Central Woodward area of the city, the grow station is now raising tilapia fish and cultivating herbs and microgreens to sell to area businesses. Read more

Hydroponic Farm Grows Summer Tomatoes and a Sustainable Work Force Through Long Maine Winters

Photo Credit: Backyard Farms

Photo Credit: Backyard Farms

One thing most people can agree on: pale supermarket tomatoes do not taste like the tomatoes grown in the backyard in summer. That’s why Backyard Farms strives to produce fruit so delicious that it tastes like it was just plucked from the backyard garden—even during a long Maine winter.

According to Tim Cunnis, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at Backyard Farms, the company formed in 2006 to provide a more local alternative to mediocre tomatoes trucked in from thousands of miles away. Read more

New York Nonprofit Builds On-site Greenhouses in City Schools

An inside shot of one of the Greenhouse Initiative Projects. Credit: Ari Burling

An inside shot of one of the Greenhouse Initiative Projects.
Credit: Ari Burling

NY Sun Works, a non-profit organization that builds innovative science labs in urban schools, partnered with a small group of parents at PS 333, The Manhattan School for Children, to found The Greenhouse Project Initiative in 2008.

“Through our Greenhouse Project Initiative, we use hydroponic farming technology to educate and teachers about the science of sustainability,” says Manuela Zamora, NY Sun Works director and director of education programs.

The Greenhouse Project was founded because parents and educators within New York City’s K-8 public school system were concerned about what they perceived to be shortcomings in the systems’ environmental science program. Read more

Canadian Hydroponic Startup Perfects Cubic Farming System

Inside a converted barn or grocery store basement, the growing cubes are stacked horizontally and vertically for the best use of space. Photo Courtesy of Urban Barns

Inside a converted barn or grocery store basement, the growing cubes are stacked horizontally and vertically for the best use of space. Photo Courtesy of Urban Barns

On the verge of opening their new Quebec store, Canadian startup Urban Barns looks set to be a leader in the sustainable grocery store industry, both in Canada and the United States.

After careful planning and four years of intense research and development, Urban Barns launched in 2012 with a goal of growing produce as close to customers as possible. Initially, Urban Barns wants to sell sustainable leafy greens to the wholesale market. They believe their patented growing cubes are the perfect way to do that.

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Georgia Organic Micro Farmer Squeezes Plenty from Small, Urban Lot

The Armenian Tigger Melon is a favorite of Frazer Love, who grows several unique varieties of melon on his urban micro farm, Perpetual Harvest. Photo Credits: Frazer Love

The Armenian Tigger Melon is a favorite of Frazer Love, who grows several unique varieties of melon on his urban micro farm, Perpetual Harvest.
Photo Credits: Frazer Love

Getting through the first season as a new farmer can be daunting, but Perpetual Harvest owner Frazer Love faced the challenge with a commitment to organic growing.

As Love explains: “When we contribute positively to our community, our community sustains us as a naturally created cycle.”

Love took a chance when he left his job in October 2012 to become a micro farmer. A micro farm, according to Love, is an urban plot of land no bigger than 4 acres dedicated to producing fruits, vegetables, and, at times, poultry.

To start his farm, Love built twelve 16-square-foot raised beds on his home property in Athens, GA, and installed a custom irrigation system featuring a feeding barrel for compost tea and ball valves on each bed to control water flow.

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2014 Will Be the Year of Aquaponics, Predicts Designer of Affordable DIY Systems

Herbs, basil and Swiss chard are grown in a FarmTower Co. do-it-yourself farm tower. (photo by Arish Amini)

Herbs, basil and Swiss chard are grown in a FarmTower Co. do-it-yourself farm tower. (photo by Arash Amini)

Chicagoan Arash Amini believes in environmental and agricultural sustainability, civic responsibility and economic development. Through aquaponics, he has brought all three of these components together.

In college at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where Amini earned a physics degree in 2010, he became enthralled with environmental science and environmental engineering. After graduating, he and some friends started a next-generation agriculture company, 312 Aquaponics. But his vision kept evolving, and in 2013 he founded FarmTower Co. in order to deliver affordable aquaponics systems to the public.

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Aquaponics Entrepreneur Establishes Facilities in St. Paul, Minnesota; Markets Inventions Globally

Dave Roeser, President of Garden Fresh Farms Photo Credit: Karin Martinson/Studio Caswell, Minneapolis

Dave Roeser, President of Garden Fresh Farms
Photo Credit: Karin Martinson/Studio Caswell, Minneapolis

In 2010, Dave Roeser sold his two businesses, leaving him with an empty warehouse in suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Along with his wife and son, he created Garden Fresh Farms, transforming his building into a profitable and innovative aquaponic operation.

The company’s indoor farm produces rainbow trout, tilapia, herbs, and greens for its own CSA as well as area colleges, corporate dining facilities, restaurants, and grocery stores. Roeser has also begun to market his patented equipment and agricultural techniques to growers as far away as Japan and Siberia.

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Startup Converts Former Twin City Brewery Building to Aquaponic Facility

Fed by nutrients provided by cultivated tilapia, a crop of parsley thrives. Photo by Fred Haberman

Fed by nutrients provided by cultivated tilapia, a crop of parsley thrives.
Photo by Fred Haberman

As perhaps much does in Minnesota in the wintertime, the aquaponics start-up Urban Organics began with ice.

Pond ice, that is.

That’s because Fred Haberman, a public relations expert, dedicated social entrepreneur, and founder of The U.S. Pond Hockey Championships got to talking with his “ice man,” David Haider.

It came to light that the two had a common dream: to bring farms to the Twin Cities’ food deserts.

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