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Farming inside the box: Urban agriculture of aquaponics


See Video here. Take a tour of an aquaponics farm with Professor Alison Gise Johnson of Chicago State University and Frank Lockom of the Plant. Both help run research farms, growing leafy greens such as mint, basil, chard, and lettuce with waste water from aquaculture.

Aquaponics is an ancient idea. The Aztecs practiced a form of it.

Bu Emily Gadekand, Michelle M. Schefer
Medill Reports
Feb 25, 2011


Snow falls outside a nondescript one-story warehouse on Chicago’s South Side. But inside, it’s the growing season. Hundreds of fish swarm and fight for food in tanks surrounded by beds of basil, rainbow chard, and mint. The scene may hold the key to creating a year-round source of fresh, local food in Chicago.

The warehouse is Chicago State University’s Aquaponics Facility, the first urban aquaponics farm in Chicago. The facility may be the first step in spurring a whole new type of urban farming in the city.

“Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture, which is the raising of fish, and hydroponics, which is the raising of plants using water. The system is a closed system in that the water from the fish which is enriched by their waste is actually used to fertilize the plants,” said Dr. Alison Gise-Johnson, director of outreach for the Aquaponics Facilty.

Read the complete article here.

1 comment

1 Zenobia Sowell-Bianchi { 05.06.11 at 4:07 pm }

Hi Dr. Allison. I was thinking about you and wondering where you are so I just googled your name and read about you directing the Chicago State Aquaponics project..I just recently met 2 young men @ a networking gathering who described what aquaponics is and gave me a business card. 312 Aquaponics. I was very interested in the concept and want to learn more please contact me when u get a chance. Zenobia