Description: The article is about Focus Nassau. It primarily tells us what the Aquaponics is, how it works and what it is used for.
Aquaponics is a very unique growing method. We have 10,000 Tilapia on property, the fish waste goes through a bio-conversion process and provides the nutrients for our plants. The water recirculates through the plants which provide additional filtration, then it goes back to our fishes nearly perfectly clean water.
We have a great relationship with our Nassau County Public School system and we are fortunate here in Nassau County to have such a valuable asset. In Hilliard Middle-Senior High School, we have a hydroponics operation that we worked very closely to help them set up and we have a small system similar to this system at Traders Hill at West Nassau High School.
This facility is something that we would otherwise never be able to have. We have an aquaponics lab, we have a large tank of Tilapia. It’s a 500-gallon tank of Tilapia.
We have lettuce growing there as well. We had the Trader’s Hill company come out and we started to plant the lettuce and got the water and the fish tank set to the right temperature and to get it ready.
My students on the science end are learning how to maintain keeping the fish healthy. We are planting the lettuce, harvesting the lettuce, keeping the system running and going on a daily basis.
The world needs more food. It has been documented that we need to increase our output by the year 2050 by 70 percent and the ability to grow in this controlled environment where you can grow more produce on a smaller footprint. It’s one of those factors that helps exponentially increase our food production.
We do believe that aquaponics and controlled environment agriculture is the future of farming
and we are going to need more farmers. So every summer we have interns working on the farm.
Last summer we had 6 interns. 2 of them were local high school students and the other 4
were college students. We’ll do that every year.
It was halfway through my junior year when I started out here. I got on the work study program and I only had to go to class for an hour and half a day. And then I would come out and work the rest of the day and get credits for it.
It brings students closer to where their food comes from. It helps them understand the process of growing food, living sustainably, caring for their environment and caring for their own bodies.