Are Aquaponics a Sustainable Alternative to Conventional Agriculture Methods in New York City?
Edenworks, an aquaponic farm in East Williamsburg, expects to produce around 150,000 pounds of leafy greens in a 12,000-square-foot space. For reference, Brooklyn Grange, the world’s largest rooftop soil farm operating on two rooftops in Brooklyn, grows about 50,000 pounds of produce in a total of 108,000 square feet. That’s 70 percent more produce in about five percent of the space.
By Emily Payne
New York City Food Policy Centre
Nov 16, 2016
The Lt. Joseph P Kennedy Community Center Garden, Harlem
Location: The Lt. Joseph P Kennedy Community Center in Harlem, which offers a range of cultural events and educational opportunities in the neighborhood, is home to this agricultural project and science lab.
Size: The rooftop currently boasts 64 square feet of deep water tanks, along with modular vertical gardens producing a number of food plants.
What they are doing: This garden, sponsored by Aquaponics NYC, The Koru Collaborative, Harlem Seeds, and The Kennedy Center, is both a community food resource and a teaching tool designed to get kids interested in and passionate about sustainability, food production, and environmental sciences. Watch the video series about the project by Aquaponics NYC.
DIY: your place!
Location: While commercial operations in NYC are still limited, anyone can start an aquaponics system at home, in the kitchen or on a rooftop.
Size: Anywhere from ten gallons to more than 100 gallons, the systems available to the DIY aquaponics enthusiast are varied and offer a lot of choice. The AquaSprouts system fits on any standard sized 10-gallon fish tank, and the slightly larger Grove Ecosystem created by MIT engineers, with its automated grow lights and customizable settings, uses a 25-gallon tank to supply water and nutrients to 305 square inches of grow space.
What they are doing: Both of the above options are meant to be used with ornamental (e.g. pet) fish. Those hoping to also breed fish for food should check out the advice offered by Aquaponics NYC on their YouTube channel.