This past Summer we experimented with a prototype vertical aquaponic system – The Cultivator 1.0 – on the Cultivate the City rooftop farm by H Street, NE.
Re-used food grade 55-gal barrels cut in half served as containers for the fish tank, grow bed, and sump tank.
The Cultivator 1.0 is intended to make the most of vertical space in our dense urban environment by stacking the containers. The vertical arrangement also makes water-flow more convenient.
Was the Cultivator 1.0 successful? stay tuned to find out!
ALSO: Are you considering a career in the growing sustainable agriculture movement? Anacostia Aquaponics is looking for dedicated Team Members and Interns for 2019. Click the link to find out more 🙂
Summer 2018 — students in the IDEA PCS Summer Bridge Program learned about aquaponics as an efficient and sustainable way to produce food in an urban environment.
Students helped out by feeding the fish in the 150-gallon aquaponic system.
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!
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!
Last week we challenged the IDEA PCS garden club students:
If you can move this entire aquaponic system upstairs to the green room during your 1-hour lunch break, we upgrade to pizza for lunch next week. By the way: all the fish have to survive the move; the system has to be back up and running; and you have to move all the water too (we wouldn’t want to shock our bacteria with new water!)
The students succeeded, great teamwork.
Now onto the next goal: grow $200 of produce with this same aquaponic system by the end of the school year… we’re gonna need some bigger fishies than these goldfish, not to be koi 😉 [foreshadowing]
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
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?
Check out the Putting Down Roots Schedule, for the 2017 National Aquaponics Association Conference.
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!
“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 —
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.