Long Island City lab on cutting edge of urban farming with aquaponic system
Abercrombie & Fitch model has become a pioneering urban farmer
By Clare Trapasso
New York Daily News
Feb 14, 2012
A former Abercrombie & Fitch model has become a pioneering urban farmer without trading in his preppy clothes for overalls.
Rael Clarke, the 24-year-old owner of LOFT LIC, transformed a Long Island City office into a laboratory where organic vegetables and fish are grown using an eco-friendly aquaponics system.
Clarke plans to turn the system into a business that sets up the water and space-saving designs on rooftops and vacant lots across the city. He is trying to raise $6,000 by March 1 on the fundraising website kickstarter.com for the project.
“My plan is to spread the knowledge of how to grow your own food,” Clarke said. “I wanted to show you could grow a high-density amount of food in a small carbon footprint.”
The growing system builds on the local food movement that has spawned urban farms and greenhouses all over the city.
Clarke constructed the aquaponic mechanism last month from plastic tubs, tubes and wood from Home Depot after he read a manual on the water-based growing method.