North Central SARE From the Field Profile
Aquaponics in School
Rethinking Urban Agriculture: An Aquaponics Approach
Aquaponics is a food production system that combines aquaculture, the raising of fish, with hydroponics, the soil-less growing of plants in water, into an integrated system. The first year of this project included purchasing and building an aquaponics system consisting of a grow bed, breeding tank, growing tank, and scientific equipment to maintain water quality and quality control throughout the system. The project began with one tank. Currently, there are three tanks with more expansion planned.
All of the students participating in the project had an opportunity to work with aquaponics, and many developed a passion about the daily work surrounding the upkeep of the system. The students observed lettuce and tomatoes growing in this closed-loop environment, and they learned about raising fish, and the importance of temperature control in the fish environment. Many lessons about systems thinking also were taught.
Currently, Redear, Bluegill, Hybrid Bluegill, Black Crappie, and Tilapia fish are being grown. The Redear and Tilapia were purchased, and the Black Crappie and Bluegill were donated by Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri. The knowledge provided by Dr. James Wetzel at Lincoln University motivated the students and inspired them to think about expanding and improving the aquaponics system.
A variety of community partners are interested in the project. One member of the community, for example, was impressed with the project and donated three aquariums and supplies.
Parents and community members are learning about the program through social media and other communications forums. Nearly 700 people have interacted with the project at some level.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant(s) YENC12-039, Rethinking Urban Agriculture: An Aquaponics Approach.
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This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture through the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. 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.