Have you ever given thought to creating a community garden in your area using aquaponics? In my limited research I'm finding that some funding is available through USDA and some other government agencies but almost no information exists specifically for aquaponic community gardens.
Wouldn't it be a great concept to establish a community aquaponic system in a need community (economically depressed) to provide limited jobs (an attendant or two) and a means for people to grow/purchase quality food using their EBT funds?
How about renting clean, easily accesible garden space at a discount using the same source for funds (Grants, Food Stamp/EBT.
Anyone who's attempted this or thought about it, let's discuss. Would it work? has anyone seen this work? What are the pros/cons?
Wow, no thoughts? Really?
I've thought about it but haven't done much research yet. I'd be more comfortable with an undertaking like that with more experience and success with my own system. Once I get to the point of having a surplus on a regular basis I'd like to do something but I'm still learning at this point, you?
I'm most definitely a beginner. But I have a background in business and cannot help but ponder the viability of enlarging the scale of my little 200 gallon system into a community-sized project. I'm so impressed with this so far, I actually find myself evaluating vacant lots in our local area for its possibilities.
Most of my research on this as a community garden is positive. Also although the information is still sketchy at this time-there is information out there out commercial viability for aquaponics.The place where I've run into roadblocks is when I bring up the possibility of supplementing whatever funding a community project like this would need by asking those in need to use their EBT or food stamps for healthier food alternatives, or even growing their own food.
Unfortunately, I think many of those in our society are just so reliant on assistance and convenience that they would rather take their food stamps and use them to buy processed foods from that big store that buys their product from China.
Actually, here in FL, they used to be able to use their EBT cards to buy vegetable plants. I don't know if that is still the case or if that has changed but that's how it used to be 2-3 years ago. There is a WIC program where the mommy and each of the kids get a $6 or $10 voucher here in FL to buy veggies (fresh, frozen, or canned) but they can't have anything added. I have a fresh produce stand up the street that accepts EBT cards so I might stop in and see if they can tell me how that works. I have a square card reader and account so I could probably accommodate such a venture very easily once I have a sustained surplus.
I'm right above you in Alabama. My wife and I rented a plot in a community garden years ago in Washington State. It was great fun. It was alot of work getting my little aquaponics system up and running but now I sometimes feel I simply cannot fail and my vegetables plants really do grow faster and produce about twice as much as those I planted in dirt.
It just seems like would would be a great venture (although not profitable) to have a community garden in some small town using the aquaponic concept. But, I think you are on to something here when you mention that your local farmer's market takes food stamps/ebt/wic. We have a small farmers market in our town that just opened up. I don't personally produce anywhere near enough to sell there but would guess that if they accepted ebt, they might increase their sales.
I'm just not sure that there is enough interest by those using ebt/foodstamps to make a difference. Unfortunately, there are many more recipients here in Alabma that abuse the system than those that use it for its intended purpose.
I get what you mean, we made some mistakes and it set us back but we had phenominal results in the beginning. Once I'm producing enough to have more of a surplus than I know what to do with I have two churches that give food to needy families on a weekly basis within walking distance. I think that if you are needy enough to walk or drive (if you can) to a food bank and take whatever they are giving I'm willing to donate some of my surplus. Of course I have a few friends and neighbors I know could use some too so they're on my wish list as well.
This is a great idea, but unfortunately, in this economy, your average economically distressed city doesn't have an appetite (i.e., political will) to launch initiatives along the lines of what you're describing. Once aquaponics establishes itself as a cost-efficient method of providing fresh foods, I can see there being more impetus to launch projects like this. I would personally like to see more demonstration projects, but I imagine these would need to be primarily funded through private equity.