Aquaponic Gardening

A Community and Forum For Aquaponic Gardeners

Urban Aquaponic Outreach project


Urban Aquaponic Outreach project

This group is for an open discussion on topics related to my thesis: I intend to create a system for cheaply growing high-quality produce year-round in an urban community using aquaponics to prevent “food deserts”

Location: Lawrence, KS
Members: 50
Latest Activity: Oct 3, 2014

Project Intent

My thesis project that I am trying to develop revolves around the growing problem of "food deserts" in large cities.

A food desert is an area where urban sprawl has caused grocery stores to move out to the suburbs, leaving the lower-income communities without a source for good quality foods. Most of these communities then have to rely on fast foods or other unhealthy alternatives.

I'd like to introduce a system to help bridge the gap that would utilize aquponic gardening in greenhouses on the rooftops of commercial buildings as land space for traditional soil growing is at a premium in these areas.

I would like to hear from anyone who is currently involved in a system like this or has any experience with commercial aquaponics to discover what could work in this type of environment. I would also like to talk to people who are experiencing this situation first hand or knows of someone who is.

Any insight would be helpful! Thanks!

Discussion Forum

Semester Completed!

Started by Elena Sherman. Last reply by k edmonds Dec 23, 2010. 8 Replies

Wellll with my semester completed, I wanted to share what I actually did with all of the research I aggregated over the course of these past four months... Here is a video I made explaining my…Continue

Looking for Volunteers!

Started by Elena Sherman. Last reply by Jacob Vennie-Vollrath Dec 13, 2010. 6 Replies

I am looking for a few people that would be willing to take part in a small research study. Ideally, I would like to survey people who live in an urban community that have limited access to fresh…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Dr. George B. Brooks, Jr. on October 22, 2012 at 10:11am

Greetings The Holy Grail has always been to find a method to move it (aquaculture) cost effectively into urban areas. Aquaponics clearly is a Sustainable way to do this. The primary focus of our projects in Phoenix Az is to increase the general public’s access to aquaponcs and to determine if backyard aquaponics could actually help to feed a family of 2.75 (Average household size in Phoenix) and by how much? So to answer these two questions, here are a few of the things we set out to accomplish:

1. Keep the costs down as far as possible.
2. Use 100% off the shelf materials (if it takes longer than 2 days to get it or if MUST order it you don’t need or want it (does not include fish and shrimp but that would be good too))
3. Make it big enough to potentially feed a family of four and to make 1 to 1 comparisons to a “square foot garden” to create an honest judge of how effective the technique is.
4. Keep design, construction, operation and maintenance as simple, fast and easy as possible (KISS) (1 to 2 days construction time)
5. Use as little energy as possible and to replace needed energy with solar applications if possible.
6. Make the system as resilient as possible (power, failures, mechanical failure, disease, temperature fluctuations, nutrient deficiencies, pH fluctuations etc).
7. Capture as many operational synergies as possible. (find those situations where 1 + 1 = 4 and maximize them.)
8. Determine new planting schedules
9. Develop techniques to grow foods people actually eat or sell within their communities.
10. Maximize safety

March 2013 will mark our 24th month of work and we have actually accomplished much of what we set out to do. So the public can have access to the results of our work beyond reports at scientific conferences like Aquaculture 2013 (If they accepted the abstract, Aquaponics and STEM education in Phoenix Arizona), or blog postings, we are working on a book about our experiences.

Comment by Michael J. Tompkins on October 10, 2012 at 6:25am



Comment by Aquaeroponía on April 6, 2012 at 5:19am
This technique mixed aquaponics, baptized in Brazil Aquaeroponía.

Comment by Katie Conrad on December 13, 2010 at 7:47am

I live in NYC and came across the company New York Sun Works, which builds gardens ontop of school rooftops using hydroponics and aquaponics. They also built the Science Barge, which used sustainable energy to run a boat with hydroponic and aquaponic systems. Good luck with your project! I don't technically live in a food desert but am on the edge of Harlem, which is and do not have access to a kitchen because I live in graduate student housing. Let me know if you need more popel for your study! : )

Comment by Margaret on October 15, 2010 at 10:23am
I live in Colorado Springs and truly do not qualify. Though it is an interest of mine. I have localvore tendencies and as such grow much of my own. I am looking into something that would allow me year round growing to assist those in my area who are without green thumbs.
Comment by George T on September 24, 2010 at 2:04pm
I'm too far away to volunteer but wish you well. This is an interest of mine too.
Take a look at Growing Power if you haven't already.
Comment by John Hicks on September 7, 2010 at 6:47am
I would love to speak wit you further. Please email:
Comment by Sheryl Gambardella on September 5, 2010 at 11:55am
I am currently living in an area classified a Food Desert, but we are not urban.I live in Tucumcari, New Mexico. It is a small and slowly shrinking town of about 5000 people. It was once much larger I am told ( 10 to 15 thousand) and home to three grocery stores and many farmers. Now we have one grocery of modest size and questionable produce quality. The closest alternative shopping is 80 miles away.I had never heard the term Food Desert before coming here- and now am very interested in the possibility of aquaponics and starting something for our town.
Comment by Michael S Uhl on September 3, 2010 at 1:33pm
I have been connected with some researchers at Johns Hopkins in the Center for a Livable Future. They have done several studies in SW Baltimore regarding the "food desert" idea through surveys and GIS mapping. Several of the local communities tout their community gardens, each with varying degrees of involvement and success. I'd like to know more about your direction and what you hope to accomplish. Maybe we could collaborate a bit. What is your location and school? Do you have a timeline?
Comment by TCLynx on September 3, 2010 at 7:32am
I know I've seen a few stories about people running urban gardens in food deserts. Adding aquaponics to those types of situations might be viable. The most important part of those operations seems to be the people motivating them. There needs to be a driving force on site to make it happen, I don't think it can be done from afar.

To find people that might be interested in running such operations, one would probably need to spend a lot of time in some of these communities to find some one with the means and desire to put time into running the community garden. Community centers, schools and church groups might be the best places to start looking for people who wish to improve the situation.

I'll keep my eyes open for stories about the urban gardening groups I've heard of before so I can link them back here for everyone.

I'm unfortunately more of a sub-urban farmer and my area is definitely not a food desert since I could probably walk to the grocery store if I had to (though it would be a long walk home carrying milk.)

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