Anacostia Aquaponics is seeking to expand aquaponics and urban agriculture education in Washington, DC.
Across the country, aquaponics is proving to be an ultra-engaging teaching tool for STEM Education concepts and Career and Technical Education.
Let’s foster a new generation of urban growers in DC! Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
STEM Flyer 2020
Mark your calendars for Rooting DC, DC’s free annual Urban Ag Forum.
This year’s event will be at Ron Brown Prep in Northeast on February 29, from 9:45am to 4:15pm.
Anacostia Aquaponics will be co-hosting a table with IDEA Public Charter School.
Anacostia Aquaponics Director Brian Filipowich will give a presentation Small-scale Aquaponics for Urban Food Production at 9:45am.
Above is a pic from Rooting DC two years ago when we had some fish in the vendor showroom!
Anacostia Aquaponics will have a table at DC Teachers Night this Thursday, Jan 30 at the U.S. Botanic Gardens.
This event is an opportunity for teachers to meet with environmental educators and bring more environmental education into DC schools.
Aquaponics is a powerful tool for STEM education and teaching environmental concepts. Aquaponic lessons fit perfectly with Next Generation Science Standards. Students learn and study the interaction of fish, plants, and bacteria in the living aquaponic ecosystem!
By Tom Precht
Our flower farm, Grateful Gardeners, is a 1 acre plot in Boyds, MD, providing fresh, organic cut flowers to the local market. We are big believers in green practices like aquaponics.
While vegetables are grown readily and with great success, flowers have not been fully attempted and investigated (with a few notable exceptions). We decided to implement a pilot study of whether or not we could grow a few different forms of flowers; Zinnias (seed), Ranunculus (corm), Dahlia (tuber), and Dahlia (cutting).
We started with a basic DIY Barrelponics system, built from the free online plans out of 3 x 55 gallon food grade plastic barrels. We had very little money to invest in this and so we decided to use pea gravel as our grow media (a decision we would regret later as all the manuals show out there) because it was less expensive than Hydroton.
We started with Tilapia fingerlings once the system was cycled. Initial results were promising, we saw rapid growth of Ranunculus corms, Dahlia cuttings, and Zinnia seeds in the system. Tubers did not seem to take off, but the quality of the tubers may have been an issue. The images of the growth show the speed with which they developed. The pea gravel started to create some pH issues and because we were not in a fully insulated space, and this was November and December, we couldn’t regulate water temperature adequately.
We eventually lost all the fish and had to shut the system down early. We are only now restarting the system in a newly built greenhouse which we hope to be able to heat through the winter months to try these same experiments again.
The IDEA Public Charter School Cafeteria recently served lettuce grown by students in aquaponic and hydroponic systems.
Students in Urban Ag Club germinate, transplant, and harvest lettuce. They also feed the fish. Then they see the fruits – nay, vegetables – of their labor in the salad bar!
Students learn the science of growing, and also build skills in urban agriculture, food safety, horticulture, and water management.
Students learn that we must follow Good Agricultural Practices if our food will be served in the school or sold commercially.
The next step is to scale up and see how much we can grow!
Are you interested in bringing aquaponics to your school? Send us an email: email@example.com
Last month, Anacostia Aquaponics hosted a delegation of 20 researchers from the Chinese Government for two days of lectures on aquaponics. We also arranged a tour of Bella Vita Farm in Brookeville, MD.
The delegation is travelling the U.S. for three weeks to study modern agriculture technology. They are visiting Washington, DC, New York, and Chicago.
Anacostia Aquaponics Director Brian Filipowich stated “I enjoyed spending time with the researchers and discussing different agricultural trends in our two countries. We have a lot to learn from eachother.”
Thanks to Sean, Gerald, and Damon for participating in Anacostia Aquaponics’ Small-Scale Aquaponics Training Course. That’s now 20 graduates — 19 from the DC metro area and one from Nigeria 🙂
The Course is designed to provide participants the skills and knowledge necessary to understand and meaningfully participate in the design, construction, and operation of a small-scale aquaponic system (10- to 1,000-gallons).
Stay tuned for another opportunity to learn small-scale aquaponics in Winter 2020!
According to our very rough calculations, Washington DC demands 189 million pounds of fresh fruit and veggies per year. And according to the best stats we could find, we are growing less than 1 million.
That means we are growing less than 0.5% of our own fresh produce.
Anacostia Aquaponics has submitted testimony for today’s DC Council hearing on the DC Urban Ag Land Lease Program.
Read the full statement: Nov 18 Anacostia Aquaponics Testimony
In our statement we argue that we need to measure what we’re currently growing and set a goal for how much we want to grow. And, once we crunch the numbers, we’ll find that to make a difference we will likely need to focus on Controlled Environment Agriculture with modern technologies like hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics, and vertical growing.
Do you have better stats, opinions, questions? Shoot us an email.
Bella Vita Farms LLC in Gaithersburg, MD opened a new greenhouse with a state-of-the-art aquaponic system about three months ago.
The farm has had no problem selling their produce at great prices because local chefs recognize the quality. In fact, they cannot keep up with demand and the farm already plans to expand the aquaponic system.
Bella Vita staff noted that not only does aquaponics provide top-notch produce, but it is also much friendlier for the environment because it uses much less water, and no synthetic pesticides or fertilizers that pollute our waterways.
The Farm started with koi, but just recently transitioned to tilapia, which they also plan to sell to local restaurants.
The DC Food Policy Council just published the 2019 DC Food Economy Study. It is filled with interesting information about where our food comes from, and insights about where we are headed.
Read the study: https://dcfoodpolicycouncilorg.files.wordpress.com/2019/09/food-economy-study.pdf?mc_cid=b21fb5afb3&mc_eid=5f7b24b706
Regarding urban agriculture, the study states:
“…urban farms in the District should have more access to resources and support. Farms not only supply fresh food to other food businesses; they also create local jobs, activate green spaces, and often provide healthy food to the surrounding communities. Yet currently urban farms in the District struggle to navigate licensing and permitting, identify grants and resources, and access large contracts and buyers. In addition, there is insufficient data on the current offerings and sales of District farms, making it difficult to measure progress. The District will soon provide more assistance to urban farms through the newly created Office of Urban Agriculture in the Department of Energy and the Environment created by the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Support Act.”