2:51 PM on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010No Comments
Great story on Urban Harvest in the Oklahoman today! Check out the video featured on NewsOK:
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma is one of the few food banks in the nation that utilizes an aquaponic system. On Saturday, the Urban Harvest program offered class to teach the community how to build and maintain the system in their own backyard. Aquaponics is a system of growing fish and edible plants in a closed, circulating system. It creates a bio-system in which fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish.
The Regional Food Bank has been experimenting with two different aquaponics systems since 2006 and has had great results. The current system consists of a tank that can hold up to 800 tilapia, connected to two 50-feet-long floating grows beds that accommodate up to 800 plant units. Typically, lettuce grows to harvest size in five weeks in this system. The system can be smaller or larger, based on needs and goals.
Tilapia is the fish of choice for most growers as they grow from fingerling to 1.5 pounds in as little as nine months. The leafy greens and herbs grow quickly, producing nutritious food faster than field growing.
The class, which was in such high demand that a waiting list was created, consisted of 30 students who worked to construct a “low-tech” aquaponic system that could be adapted to home or small business with a relatively small financial investment. The system will be used as the Urban Harvest nursery for baby tilapia.
Aquaponics is a system of growing fish and edible plants in a closed circulating system that creates a bio-system in which fish waste provides nutrients for the plants, and plants filter and clean the water for the fish.
Urban Harvest is offering an aquaponics workshop to introduce the basic concepts of the system. The class will help people decide if they want to invest in establishing one of these systems through hands on learning. It will be held on March 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The cost to attend is $25.00.
The aquaponics class will consist of two components (lunch on your own between 12:00pm and 1:00pm; Urban Harvest will provide beverages if you want to brown-bag-it):
- 9:00–12:00: Introductions followed by a film and lecture based upon the Urban Harvest experience of building and operating a greenhouse aquaponics system. A walk-and-talk will introduce the students to the commercial system located in the greenhouse.
- 1:00-4:00: Students will assist with the construction of a “low tech” aquaponic system that could be adapted to home or small business with relatively low financial investment. The system will become the Urban Harvest nursery for baby Tilapia.
At the Regional Food Bank, we have been experimenting with two different systems since 2006 and have had great results. Our experience has come from formal training and a lot of trial and error! The first system was based upon the low-tech Growing Power model from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This was a vertical system of plant beds connected to a tank that held 100 tilapia. The system worked well, successfully growing out both fish and various edible plants and herbs. Later, a larger commercial system modeled after a concept developed by the University of The Virgin Islands was established. Our current system consists of a tank that can hold up to 800 tilapia, connected to two 50 foot long floating grow beds that accommodate up to 800 plant units. Typically, lettuce grows to harvest size in 5 to 6 weeks in this system. This type of system can be smaller or larger based on needs and goals.
Tilapia is the fish of choice for most growers as they grow from fingerling to 1.5 pounds in as little as 9 months while leafy greens and herbs grow quickly, producing nutritious food faster than field growing.
Learn the basic knowledge and skills you need to get a home garden started with Urban Harvest Sustainable Home Gardening Classes. Urban Harvest is an urban agriculture program offering a series of basic home gardening classes to help Oklahomans glean the skills needed to grow food in their own yards.
Students learn in both a theory (classroom) and hands-on setting, while exploring everything from basic seed starting and composting to building their own home aquaponic system.
Classes range in cost from $10-$25 and take place at the Regional Food Bank, located at 3355 S. Purdue in Oklahoma City. All payments go to further the work of Urban Harvest in its sustainable organic gardening projects. Because limited space is available, advanced registration is required and early signup is encouraged.
Class scheduling and pricing is as follows:
Basic Raised Bed Gardening: February 20, 1-4 p.m. $15
Basic Home Composting: February 27, 1-4 p.m. $10
Basic Seed Starting: February 28, 1-4 p.m. $10
Basic Raised Bed Gardening: March 6, 1-4 p.m. $15
Basic Seed Starting: March 13, 1-4 p.m. $10
Drip Irrigation for Sustainability: March 18, 1-4 p.m. $10
Basic Raised Bed Gardening: March 20, 1-4 p.m. $15
Intro to Building a Home Aquaphonic System: March 27 9 a.m.-4 p.m. $25