Potomac Aquaponics Conference (4/4)

Business Development was the last issue we identified at the Potomac Aquaponics Conference last Fall.

Commercial aquaponics ventures have high upfront costs, and must manage multiple sides of the business: fish and plants.

We identified municipal business development agencies, the USDA, and agriculture colleges as possible collaborators in developing the commercial side of aquaponics.

 

Potomac Aquaponics Conference (3/4)

The aquaponics trailer was a highlight of the Potomac Aquaponics Conference.

This trailer is a mobile educational tool that travels all over Virginia, which is why it is the perfect example for the next issue we identified at the conference: Education & Outreach.

We need to teach more people about the benefits of aquaponics, so that more people enter the industry and consumers understand the benefits of aquaponics produce.

This will need to be a large effort undertaken by the entire aquaponics community.

Potomac Aquaponics Conference (2/4)

Participants at the meeting identified three areas in which Potomac-region growers could advance aquaponics.

The first was food safety. We identified all the actors involved in aquaponics food safety, which turned out turned out to be a very long list! We identified:

  • farmers,
  • distributors,
  • retailers,
  • state departments of health,
  • state departments of agriculture,
  • the USDA,
  • the FDA,
  • fisheries, and
  • third-party auditors

Coordination will be critical among these groups to ensure consistency, fairness, and efficiency in aquaponics food safety regulation.

Stay tuned for more from the Potomac Aquaponics Association.

Potomac Aquaponics Conference (1/4)

Last Fall, Members of the Potomac Aquaponics Association met for a two-day conference to discuss advancing aquaponics in the Potomac region.

Represented at the meeting were: the national Aquaponics Association, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, the University of the District of Columbia, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia State University, Virginia Tech, and Anacostia Aquaponics DC LLC.

We identified three areas in which we could advance aquaponics in the Potomac region. Stay tuned for part 2!

Teachers’ Night @ the U.S. Botanic Gardens

The D.C. Environmental Education Consortium (DCEEC) recently hosted a Teachers’ Night at the U.S. Botanic Gardens. DC Teachers networked with local environmentally-focused organizations, and a great time was had by all!

Anacostia Aquaponics hosted an information table at the event and met many great teachers.

One of Anacostia Aquaponics’ goals is to incorporate aquaponics into DC STEM curriculum, as is already being done across the nation!

Classroom aquaponics is an approachable, scalable, engaging, multi-disciplinary learning tool.

An aquaponic system lends itself to learning across disciplines, particularly the NGSS focus in Physical Science, Life Science, Earth and Space Science, and Engineering Design. [Credit for aquaponics STEM quotes to Kevin Savage, Aquaponics Association; and Kieran Foran, Trifecta Ecosystems]

Rooting DC Forum this Saturday

Rooting DC is a free, all-day urban gardening forum that provides education about urban agriculture and food systems, cultivates health and protection of the environment, and builds community.

Event Details:
Ron Brown Prep
4800 Meade St. NE
9 am – 4pm
See the: Rooting DC 2019 Schedule

Anacostia Aquaponics will have a display table in the vendor room. Director Brian Filipowich will discuss “Aquaponics in DC” from 10 to 11am.

We hope to see you there!

 

Farm Bill creates Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

The recently-passed U.S. Farm Bill creates the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production which should boost aquaponics, hydroponics, and other sustainable growing methods.

The Bill establishes the Office “to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices.” Related to this new Office, the Bill:

  • Provides for the assignment of a farm number for rooftop, indoor, and other urban farms.
  • Provides authority to award competitive grants to operate community gardens or
    nonprofit farms, educate a community on food systems, nutrition, environmental impacts,
    and agricultural production, and help offset start-up costs for new and beginning farmers.
  • Establishes an Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Advisory Committee.
  • Establishes pilot projects to increase compost and reduce food waste, and create urban
    and suburban county committees.

In addition to the Office for Urban Agriculture, the Farm Bill also establishes the Urban, Indoor, and Other Emerging Agriculture Production Research, Education, and Extension Initiative. This Initiative does the following:

  • Authorizes competitive research and extension grants to support research, education, and
    extension activities for the purposes of enhancing urban, indoor, and other emerging
    agricultural production.
  • Provides $4 million mandatory for each fiscal year 2019-2023.
  • Requires the Secretary to conduct a census of urban, indoor, and other emerging
    agricultural production.

Unfortunately, there is plenty of bad along with the good: this Farm Bill continues negative policies that stifle smaller growers and wastefully support large industrial monoculture growers. Nevertheless, it is welcome to see the Federal Government acknowledging the need for investment in urban and sustainable growing.

Will these government initiatives improve urban agriculture in Washington, DC?

How can the DC Urban Ag community make the most of this opportunity?

Are you interested in being part of the revolution in urban agriculture? Anacostia Aquaponics is looking for 2019 Team Members / Interns. Learn more: http://anacostiaaquaponics.org/2019-team-member-opportunities/

Vertical Hydroponic Grow Systems in Downtown DC

We recently worked on planting and harvesting vertical hydroponic systems at the new Fannie Mae office building in downtown, DC.

These systems make the best use of space by stacking hydroponic shelves vertically. All four levels are connecting to one common reservoir, which is directly connected to the DC water system.

The hydroponic system is from the Urban Cultivator. Pictured here is Niraj Ray from Cultivate the City.

Are you interested in being part of the revolution in urban agriculture? Anacostia Aquaponics is looking for 2019 Team Members / Interns. Learn more: http://anacostiaaquaponics.org/2019-team-member-opportunities/