Baltimore farmers interested in sustainability have been growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs for a while. Maryland’s even got green-minded grain farms, and organic wines. But Johns Hopkins’ new aquaponics project, which features 400 tilapia in 210-gallon tanks at Cylburn Arboretum, is the first we’ve heard of a sustainable fish-farming effort.
The exciting thing about the Cylburn Aquaponics Farm, which was formally launched last week by the school’s Center for a Livable Future, is that it’s not merely a good way to grow fish. The tilapia’s waste is used in a hydroponic (soil-less) farming project as fertilizer for everything from kale to eggplant.
The tilapia-vegetable growing system is just one of the CLF’s projects intended to show how there are healthful, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable alternatives to our nation’s dominant mode of food productions. If all continues to go well with the Aquaponics Project, the CLF hopes that backyard hobbyists and local entrepreneurs are inspired to do some tilapia farming of their own, since the system produces two income streams at once (fish and vegetables).
If you’re interested in checking out the system, stop by Cylburn on Wednesdays from 10 to noon, when it’s open to the public (or make an appointment). And those fat, lovely tilapia? They should be ready for the market in January, so plan accordingly.
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