noun: aquaponics, a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.
Like so many other projects and businesses, Healcrest Urban Farm has enjoyed growth opportunities through the connection and collaboration with others. From bees to mulch and more Healcrest ‘s expansion has been supported and sometimes catalyzed by outside organizations.
The most recent expansion is brought on through a collaboration between Seed Aquaponics LLC. An organization whose mission is to build aquaponics systems worldwide while creating collaborative opportunities between students and community leaders to implement sustainable, social and economic development solutions.
Last October, a
utumn 2014, Maria and Dana began conversations with Colleen Beck of Seed Aquaponics. In need of an additional test site for an aquaponics system, Colleen looked to Healcrest Urban Farm and the high tunnel greenhouse as a possible space. After some conversations about concepts Colleen and her crew of volunteers and interns set to work. In cold Western PA winter the crew broke ground in early December and labored throughout the winter.
Now with spring right around the corner and the cold winter seems to have passed, we are ready to fill the tank! Last Saturday, March 14, the team assembled for some of the final stages in the building process and happily filled the tank. This water tank will soon to be home to tilapia and perch.
Some of the advantages of an aquaponics system, and some that the ladies or Healcrest are hoping will lean in their favor, are the creation of rich nutrients for plant to thrive as well as a more gentle and maintained environment from that of outdoor growing. The relationship between pants and fish create a lovely habitat for plant to live an grow.
Used widely in Healcrest products, Dana and Maria cultivate chamomile and red clover flowers which struggle in the Pittsburgh climate. With this indoor aquaponics system the ladies are hoping to achieve greater yields from some of those more delicate plants.
Only a few final steps to go and the system will be complete. Colleen and the Seed crew have done their jobs of building and Dana and Maria will take over in their job of stewardship. Another collaborative relationship cultivating amazing experiences and growing beneficial structures.