Updated: Oct 15, 2019
O Grows has had an exciting start to the year!
Our proposal to add an aquaponics system to our greenhouse operations was chosen as the College of Education’s entry to the 2019 Tiger Giving Day (view our video entry at https://rise.auburn.edu/). This one-day crowd funding event raised over $14,000 for our project. Our sincere thanks to the over 150 alumni, students, staff, faculty and friends of AU for your support.
“This one-day crowd funding event raised over $14,000 for our project.”
Funding will cover the equipment and materials necessary to retrofit our greenhouse set-up for the aquaponics system. With the addition of 600 lbs of tilapia and thousands of pounds of produce available to support local food security, we are excited by the potential of the project and confident that O Grows existing capital and capacity supports its viability.
New Projects to Come
We are adapting our current hydroponics systems to be integrated with the aquaculture system this spring and plan to introduce the fish by early summer. Of course, beyond producing more food for donation, this project provides shared value for students and local farmers. The aquaponics systems will provide more experiential learning and workforce development for local K-12 students and AU pre-service teachers while providing a model of best practices in sustainable agriculture to improve training and market access of local farmers.
Daniel Wells, assistant professor of specialty crops in AU’s Horticulture Department and long-time O Grows member, is indispensable to this project. He is providing operational direction of the system and provides training to staff members. He and O Grows Director Sean Forbes are collaborating on a grant proposal to the USDA’s Local Food Promotion Program in support of the aquaponics project.