by Alexa C. Kurzius, Science Line
Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 12:44PM EDT
There are some new fish in Baltimore, and they don’t come from the Chesapeake Bay. On October 5th, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future launched an aquaponics farm in the city. By raising about 400 tilapia and harvesting hundreds of pounds of organic vegetables, the organization hopes to sell these goods at local markets and inspire local entrepreneurs to copy their model.
Aquaponics is a sustainable technology that combines aquaculture, or fish farming, with hydroponics, or soil-less plant farming. The fish and the plants work symbiotically, with the waste from the fish providing fertilization for the plants, and the plants refreshing the water for the fish.
The tilapia swim in four 210-gallon tanks, having been raised in the farm since June to prepare for the launch. It’s expected that they will be ready for eating in January of 2013 (yum). Some tasty vegetables are also growing there, including herbs, lettuce, kale, celery, basil, eggplant, and okra. The farm makes use of a previously unused 1,200 square foot greenhouse at the Clyburn Arboretum, temporarily donated by the Baltimore’s Department of Recreation and Parks. The facility is open to the public to visit.
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