How Can Aquaponics Help DC’s Food Deserts?

By Eleanor Haworth

Eleven percent of Washington, DC is a food desert. A food desert is when there is little access to affordable food in a city. One in seven individuals in the district suffer from poverty; especially in wards 7 and 8. Even with free and reduced lunch in schools and nonprofits working to provide meals, many children and adults do not have food security.

Aquaponics and hydroponics may be able to combat this. With an increase in research and technology, families can grow fruits and vegetables on their rooftops and in their homes without worrying about large land usage and soil management. Aquaponics can be used to gain extra income for communities by selling produce to restaurants and creating small markets for the community. If a supermarket is introduced to the area, community members can work with store owners to supply produce leading to better food access AND jobs.

DC Candidates Food Forum

Local DC food advocates are holding a Candidates Food Forum next week on Wednesday May 15th to hear from DC Council At Large Candidates on food policy issues.

The forum is sold out, and has a waitlist so the DC Food Policy Council will be hosting a watch party for the livestream of the event. Bring a snack for yourself, or to share for a potluck, and join us to watch the forum!

Wednesday, May 15th, 6:30 to 8:30pm
1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
Room 200

About Forum
The Candidates’ Food Forum will bring together candidates for city-wide Council seats to share their ideas and positions on DC food system issues. Candidates will answer questions about food justice and health equity; school food and nutrition; urban agriculture; economic development and more.

Rooting DC this Saturday!

Who: Everyone
What: Rooting DC Urban Agriculture Expo
When: Saturday, March 3, 9:00am – 4:00pm
Where: Wilson HS, 3950 Chesapeake St NW, Washington, DC
Why: Sustaining a happy life on Earth!
Price: FREE

Anacostia Aquaponics will have our Hootie 2.0 Indoor Aquaponic System set up and running in the Vendor Showroom, goldfish and all. [Barring any technical catastrophes]

Anacostia Aquaponics Director Brian Filipowich will present “Aquaponics in Washington DC” at 10:00am in Room 205. There are many many GREAT presentations all day long! See Rooting DC Schedule

It’s always a great time, and there’s lots of foodtrucks, hope to see you there!

Mayor Bowser Signs the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

 

Today, January 25, Mayor Bowser will announce that the District and other American cities will sign on to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP), a cooperative international agreement to improve food and sustainability in cities all over the world. Mayor Bowser will sign on to the Pact to “build a more sustainable and equitable food system, shaping future patterns of food production and consumption in the District and America.”

Learn more: Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

2 Dans Toiling at Twilight; Thankfulness

Dan and Dan were recently improving the insulation on one of Cultivate the City‘s rooftop greenhouses ahead of the winter.

This greenhouse hosts a hydroponic system with 25 vertical zipgrow towers; stacked-pot drip-line vertical hydroponic systems; and an aquaponic system we will be overhauling in the months ahead.

Controlled environment agriculture gives us the ability to produce food in the middle of Washington, DC in the middle of winter — as opposed to shipping all of our fresh produce thousands of miles for half the year. And vertical growing gives us the ability to produce large quantities of food relative to square land area.

The problem: our nation’s economic structure. We do not charge the true cost of carbon. Big companies have an implicit subsidy to use as much carbon as they want to get their food here from across the planet and compete against efficient local growers. Sad.

So this year I’m thankful for Dan, Dan, and the rest of the Washington, DC urban agriculture community!

NOSB Gives Organic Aquaponics the GREEN Light!

From the Aquaponics Association-
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted 8 to 7 last week to reject proposals that would have banned aquaponics and hydroponics from organic eligibility. The Board did vote to ban aeroponics.

The Aquaponics Association applauds the NOSB’s decision. Aquaponics embodies exactly what consumers expect in their organic produce:

  1. No synthetic pesticides or chemicals;
  2. Resource-efficient and planet-friendly; and
  3. A thriving, diverse microbial root ecosystem.

The NOSB’s decision will usher in a host of benefits to our food system. Aquaponics gives us the ability to eat fresh, local produce even in dense urban areas and arid climates. The organic label will allow commercial aquaponic growers to supply retailers the most local organic food possible.

Aquaponics employs closed-loop, recirculating systems of fish and plants. These systems use over 90% less water than soil farming; do not emit harmful agriculture discharge; and use the minimum resources necessary to grow vibrant, healthy crops.

For consumers, the NOSB’s decision will lead to more accessible, affordable produce as more aquaponic growers enter the organic market. Aquaponics will also foster local economic growth with year-round food production jobs that can never be outsourced.

In short, the NOSB’s decision is a big WIN for our environment, our health, and our economy.