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Raising Trashcan Tilapia is Latest Trend in Urban Farming

Tilapia in the Bronx. Urban farmer Christopher Toole teaches children how to grow fish and vegetables at The Point in Hunts Point.

“Give a person some fish, and you start a self-perpetuating cycle of education and growth.”

By Jon Schuppe,
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
January 18, 2012


HUNTS POINT — Christopher Toole sees the future of urban farming at the bottom of a 50-gallon garbage bin in the South Bronx, where a pale foot-long fish does lazy loops in dark water.

The fish is one of dozens of tilapia Toole keeps in trash and recycling containers, “aquaponic” tanks and traditional glass tanks in Hunts Point, where he is conducting an ambitious experiment. His plan is to create a network of homes, restaurants and cooperative farms where millions of people in the metropolitan area will raise and eat what he calls Bronx Best Blue Tilapia.

Toole knows it sounds a little quixotic, but he is undeterred. A disillusioned ex-banker and scientist’s son, he now sees himself as a “Johnny Appleseed of fish.”

“I’ve been part of the parasite economy for so long, so it would be nice to be part of the productive economy,” he said.

Read the complete article here.


1 shift { 01.19.12 at 8:26 am }

Trashcan fish sounds a bit like making raised gardens using old warehouse pallets – a great idea until you realize that they are made with lots of nasty chemicals that you wouldn’t want in your food.

2 Mary Jordan { 04.04.12 at 2:45 pm }

To Shift- From a tv news show on this subject, they said that the trash cans are technically food grade and safe, as long as they have never had garbage in them previously. I have heard of families using their old swimming pools or horse troughs, so I find this intriguing to give the fish an environment that they like, yet giving me the portability of having it being on wheels.