The premise behind aquaponic farming–using fish poop to fertilize plants–sounds a little nasty at first. But the system, which uses filters to convert ammonia in the feces to plant-friendly nitrates, is actually a very efficient means of growing. All you have to do is feed the animals high-quality food and the rest works on its own, and at the end of the day, you have two crops: veggies and fish.
Yemi Amu, a Brooklyn farmer who’s set up and tended to small-scale aquaponic operations across the borough for years, hopes to tackle her biggest application yet in Bushwick: an empty lot next to the Moore Street market, which she’s converting into a full-scale fish feces farm. Joan Bartolomeo, the manager of the market, says the revitalized lot will provide veggies to Moore Street vendors and serve as a community education space.
With the help of a greenhouse, Amu says the farm will even be able to operate during the winter. “If you dig the pond deep enough, the fish can go to the bottom where it’s warmer,” she said. “Or you use seasonal fish — once it’s cold, you harvest the tilapia and add a cold water fish like trout. Just like you grow winter crops when it’s cold, you grow winter fish.”
(Photo: Lindsey Allen/Flickr)