Fish, crops and new job skills in urban core?

hydoponicsIn the urban core, volunteers are building something that involves everything from gardening to chemistry.

Not to mention fish and lettuce.

aquaponics-buildingOn Wednesday, people presented their plan for aquaponics to the city council.

The project taking shape at 29th and Wabash is called Nile Valley Aquaponics, which combines raising fish and plants.

The first of three planned greenhouses is expected to be finished in about a month, said Dre Taylor, who also works to mentor youths.

Taylor told the council the his group, Males to Men, has partnered with the Kansas City Keys, a nonprofit youth development group, to help young people produce 70,000 pounds of vegetables and 30,000 pounds of a fish called Tilapia in solar-powered greenhouses. They have received funding from the city, the country, and several other sources.

“Our Community Development project will establish a Farmers Market on the property, create green jobs, provide access to chemical free food in a food desert, promote health education, and reduce our carbon footprint on the planet,” according to the project website.

The groups will also compost, harvest rain water, keep bees and do community gardening in an area of town where many people would not expect such activities.

The concept is to raise Tilapia in insulated six-foot deep trenches and circulate that water to fertilize plants that help filter the water for the fish.

Taylor hopes to hire up to seven people to start. He also wants to train youth in the operation that requires science and math skills.

Taylor said volunteers from the neighborhood and elsewhere have helped dig the trenches and do the building.

“It’s kind of an oasis,” he said. “When you come in you forget you’re on 29th and Wabash.”

Leave a Comment