Urban Ag Policy-Making

Here’s a meeting of the Urban Ag working group of the DC Food Policy Council.

On the agenda:

  • Getting the DC Comprehensive Plan to incorporate Urban Ag
  • Coordinating DC growers and regulators to implement the DC Cottage Food Act

The DC government must ensure that sustainable practices like aquaponics, hydroponics, vertical growing, rooftop growing, and composting are properly incentivized to account for their positive externalies, obviously.

The Hootie 2.0

Working with Neto Construction in Sterling, VA on the next model of our indoor aquaponic system, the Hootie 2.0.

It has a 55-gallon fishtank on wheels for roll-out easy access. (See Hootie 1.0)

Here we see Danny Neto cutting some Ultra-Skrim FGC liner, a great product from Global Plastic Sheeting. It’s handy for aquaponics because  it’s:

1) very puncture/tear resistant;
2) pliable;
3) food grade; and
4) only 13 microns thick, whoa baby!!!

Super Informative Doc on Hydroponic Components

Check out the report here:
This recent release details the hydroponic components of an aquaponic system. Recommended reading for any aquaponic newbie or even mid-leveler.
From D. Allen Pattillo at Iowa State University. Thanks Dr. P!
 

Installing the Filtration Skid @ PR Harris

Here we see Bill installing the “Filtration Skid” @ PR Harris Community College in Southeast Washington, DC.

This pic is from last Fall. Hey, gotta blog sumthin’…

The Filtration Skid is akin to the organs and nervous system of an advanced aquaponic system. On the Filtration Skid are a drum filter, bag filter, bio-filter, UV sterilization lights, oxygenation devices, and various pumps and sensors.

Brewing Vermicompost Tea at the Aquaponics Meetup

Here are Julie, Hala, and Cheryl getting ready to brew some vermicompost tea at our aquaponics meetup last night. Cheryl looks to be digging under a bed of newspaper to find our squiggly friends below.

About 10 or 15 local aquaponics enthusiasts came by to participate last night. We tested the system water for pH, ammonia, and nitrates and discussed the results; we chatted about fish feeding ratios; we brewed vermicompost tea and discussed applications for aquaponic systems; and we added worms to the media bed.

Thanks everybody who came out to visit and share your knowledge. We’ll be posting more practical info about vermicompost tea applications in aquaponics, stay tuned!

Rooting DC Conference

Here are some Cultivate the City rascals, with whom we shared a table at the 2017 Rooting DC Conference last Saturday.

Rooting DC is an annual forum for urban ag folks looking to make DC’s food system healthier. Click to see Rooting DC’s great map of the DC Food System… Hey, we gotta put some aquaponic systems on that map!

Anacostia Aquaponics gave a short “intro to aquaponics” presentation. We also ran into a lot of old friends, and made some new ones. It’s likely that Rooting DC pollinated even more urban agriculture collaborations, stay tuned!   🙂

Checkout Scott’s Backyard System in NE DC!

scotts system

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.

 

The Knight, Until Spring 2017….

Winterizing

We started this system, “The Knight”, a bit too late in the year. It took a while for the bacterial colony to establish and there wasn’t enough time to achieve robust growth before the winter months. But we’ll be ready for the Spring!

Starting in Spring 2017, all Anacostia Aquaponics systems will have a specific goal for the year for fish weight and plant production based on each system’s characteristics. We will do our best to maximize production and quantify how much each system can produce.

Factors that will affect each systems’ goals include: system size and type; source water pH; access to light; owner preferences; and other environmental considerations.

(This system is named “The Knight” because it’s in a backyard across from Ballou High School in Anacostia, Washington DC. Their mascot is The Knights.)

UDC Aquaponics at East Cap Urban Farm

East Cap Urban Farm

The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) hosted a great event last week showcasing their large aquaponics system at the East Capitol Urban Farm in Washington, DC (across from Capitol Heights Metro station). This system is one of UDC’s “urban food hubs”, which are designed to “improve Food Security and Sustainability in DC neighborhoods through food production, food preparation, food distribution, and waste and water management”. UDC is planning a food hub in each of Washington, DC’s eight wards. Each hub will include aquaponics or hydroponics. Check out their urban ag website here.