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/
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.
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!
Jajuan and Ms. Mus just finished setting up this hydroponic system at Anacostia Highschool.
They plan to stock the top grow bed with small pots filled with hydroton clay media (pictured in the buckets below). They also plan to feed the plants with liquid hydroponic nutrients.
We’ll check in with them in a few months to see how it’s going. Maybe we’ll even get an aquaponic system going! 😉
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:
- No synthetic pesticides or chemicals;
- Resource-efficient and planet-friendly; and
- 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.
Check out the Putting Down Roots Schedule, for the 2017 National Aquaponics Association Conference.
Feeding some tilapia at the UDC-Van Ness aquaponic system ribbon-cutting event!
Scott has been running this system in his backyard in NE DC for over two years. Below is the fishtank, a submerged IBC Tote with cover. Scott estimates he has about 10 Bullhead Catfish and over 50 Blue Gill, some of which have been here almost three years! He and his family have eaten about 15 of their own fish grown in their own DC backyard… Gnarly! (He says the Blue Gill are much tastier.)
Up top is the grow bed. Scott estimates that during the warmer months it produces about a salad a day for his family. Wow, great numbers. And he uses rainwater from his roof, very environmentally friendly! (and lower pH)
As pictured, the system is operating under the tarp for winter. It expands out during the rest of the year, and Scott is continually adding growbeds.
Here’s a link to his forum thread in case you are interested in more info: Scott’s aquaponic forum thread.