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

Aquaponic Stringbean

The Hootie 1.0 Indoor Aquaponic System was able to grow a string bean with only about 100 grams of ornamental goldfish powering the train.

 

This string bean was just a test to see if we could grow a decent fruiting vegetable with this 29-gallon system. (Fruiting plants like string beans require more nutrients and are generally harder to grow well). Ultimately, this system is best suited to grow seven or eight quick-growing herbs and lettuces at a time because of the small-ish fish tank and wide media growbed.

 

 

We were happy to see that – despite its diminutive size – it was a crunchy and tasty little bean!

The Hootie 2.0 Indoor Aquaponic System is equipped with lighting and improved water circulation. Once that system gets to decent fish capacity maybe we’ll try another fruiting veggie… any requests?

DC Food Recovery Week Events

October 21 – 28 is Food Recovery Week in Washington, DC. Check out a full list of events at dcfoodrecovery.org.

Anacostia Aquaponics is hosting two events in conjunction.

Backyard Aquaponic Fish Harvest, Clean & Cook
October 26, 5:30 – 7:30pm

Worms and Coffee
October 28, 9:00 – 11:30am

OK, vermicomposting makes sense, but what does a fish harvest have to do with food waste & recovery?

In honor of DC food recovery week we are going to bokashi compost the fish guts. The fish guts and skeletons are extremely rich with nutrients that plants need. There is no reason to send these nutrients hundreds of miles to a landfill to rot. Instead, we can use compost methods to transform and re-use these nutrients right here in our own city. (and on a large scale this will create many JOBS).

Aquaponics can also stem the problem of food waste by providing vegetables to urban and arid areas without crop spoilage during transport.

Our nation wastes thousands of tons of vegetables each year due to spoilage during transport. Contrast this with Scott’s aquaponic system where we’re hosting this event. In the warm months Scott grows an entire salad a day for his entire family that can be harvested the same day they eat it; if we all grew hyper-local like Scott there would be a LOT LESS FOOD WASTE!

Large Commercial Aquaponics Project Planned in Sterling, VA

“Urban farming company Kappa Farms will invest $865,000 and hire 21 people to open an aquaponics operation in Sterling.” (VA)

“According to the office of Governor Terry McAuliffe, the company will build a closed-loop nutrient cycle aquaponics facility which will produce certified organic baby lettuces and arugula using water and nutrients derived from fish waste. The company will produce more than $7 million worth Virginia-grown lettuces over the next three years, which it will then sell to customers and restaurants in the Washington, DC, metro area.”

Full article on Loudonnow.com: Kappa Farms to open Loudon Aquaponics Facility —

UDC Urban Food Hub Aquaponic Systems

Here swim tilapia in the Bertie Backus Urban Food Hub aquaponic system in Northeast Washington, DC. These tilapia are about 6 inches long and reside in one of the six 650-gallon tanks at the Backus system.

The water is very clear due to the use of a 100 micron “drum filter” and 50 micron “tank filter”.

Bertie Backus is one of four Urban Food Hubs constructed and operated by the University of the District of Columbia. UDC also operates aquaponic systems at the Van Ness, P.R. Harris College, and East Capitol Urban Farm food hubs.

The Van Ness aquaponic system was started earliest of the four. We first stocked fish in April, 2017. It’s been successfully growing basil, lettuces, and tomatoes with fish food as the ONLY nutritional input for about 6 months now. After working out initial kinks, water quality parameters are consistently excellent and the fish grow about an inch per month.

Anacostia Aquaponics worked with UDC during the initiation process of these systems from March through September, 2017. It was a great learning experience.

With appropriate management and resources, UDC’s Urban Food Hub aquaponic systems should continually improve and grow lots of fresh, healthy food for Washington, DC residents.

Chat at Iona Senior Services in NW DC

We had a great discussion at Iona Senior Services this week about aquaponics and our new Hootie 2.0 Aquaponic System.

The Hootie 2.0 has been running for a few months and has been growing lots of parsely and watercress (startin’ easy, ya know?) This week we added 4 bigger goldfish so it’s time to graduate to basil and some denser greens, ahhh milestones….

The fish all have names, the parsely is used in group meals, and the residents enjoy feeding the fish. We’re going to work with the chef to figure out how to use the watercress.

Residents and staff asked many great questions about how an aquaponic system functions, and how aquaponics will fit in our evolving food system.

More learning and growing in our future 🙂

 

 

Aquaponics at Georgetown Maker Hub

Hoya Saxa!

Georgetown student Sarah Harper is constructing an aquaponics system in the Maker Hub space of the university library.

She constructed a model out of Legos, and said that this helped her visualize how the system would work.

It will have a 40-gallon fish tank, and cycle water up to a hydroponic grow tray. The tray will be filled with hydroponic media, and net pots to hold individual plants.

Anacostia Aquaponics helped Sarah with the project as part of our Partnership Program. We’ll check back in once they have fish and plants growing.

Great job Sarah!

 

PR Harris Volunteer Day

Here’s a pic from a recent UDC volunteer day at the P.R. Harris Food Hub near the southern tip of DC.

Volunteers and staff have disconnected the grow-trough drain lines so that the pipes can be cleaned to prevent clogging, and the troughs can be removed and rinsed.

The P.R. Harris hydroponic greenhouse uses this A-frame design to hold grow-troughs vertically and make the most of our limited urban space, while ensuring that plants still receive enough light.

Next to the P.R. Harris hydroponic greenhouse is the aquaponic greenhouse. The aquaponic system is still undergoing mechanical improvements before it is functional. Stay tuned!

Checking in with The Knight

Mr. Carroll Bryant looks at his backyard aquaponic system “The Knight” in its second growing season. (It’s named after the Ballou H.S. Knights, across the street.)

The Knight has a 50 gallon inground pond currently with about 15 small goldfish, and one medium size (5-inch) comet goldfish. We covered the pond with weed cloth to prevent excessive algae growth.

Water is pumped up to a 10 gallon grow-bed filled with hydroton clay-media. A bell-siphon returns the water to the pond.

Right now Carrol and his wife Janet are growing green onions and some bok choy. We’ll have to get some more fish weight to really ramp up the growth!