Help Youngstown Get into the Aquaponics Game

Youngstown’s Idora Neighborhood, working with some local nonprofit groups, is undergoing an ambitious campaign to get into urban fish farming. This is part of a wider urban agriculture strategy for the Idora Neighborhood, which is the site of targeted reinvestment.

This video is for a kickstarter campaign supporting the project. The group hopes to raise $5,000 dollars, so that they can start raising some talapia in the city. Only 20 days left to raise close to $4k!

Donate your spare change here!

Here’s some more info from the group:

We’ve got veggies. We’ve got fruit trees. Now all we need is some protein!

WE WANT TILAPIA!

Your help is being requested by the Parkview Community Garden group to construct a fish farm in the Idora Neighborhood of Youngstown, Ohio. The farm will be a neighborhood-scale, zero discharge recirculating aquaponics system that will enable the group to raise and harvest healthy and nutritious tilapia, as well as fresh produce year-round. The system will incorporate environmentally friendly components, including the reuse of an existing large vacant garage structure that is directly across the street from the existing garden site, solar thermal to heat the water (tilapia prefer warm water), rain barrels, and sky lights for natural lighting.

What the heck is aquaponics???

Basically it’s a recreation of a naturally occurring ecosystem. The fish are fed a predominately vegetarian diet of food produced in the system (like duckweed and algae). The water with the fish waste is pumped into a grow bed with gravel, home to lots of little tiny bacteria that work to purify the water. The fish waste is also a high-grade fertilizer that leafy vegetables love to soak up, further filtering the water that eventually makes its way back into the fish tank. Sustainable and all-natural!

Why are we doing this???

Like many inner-city neighborhoods, the Idora Neighborhood has become a “food desert” and does not currently have access to a full-service grocery facility. As the majority of the neighborhood’s population is comprised of low income (27% below poverty level) and minority (80% African American) individuals and families, the lack of healthy food options locally presents a serious social justice issue that this group and project is seeking to overcome. Idora also contains a large youth population (35% under the age of 19). Given the poor educational trends of the city population at large, this large youth demographic represents an at-risk population.

Your support of this project will enable neighborhood residents to provide themselves greater access to healthy and fresh food choices. Being able to raise and harvest fresh fish locally will build upon an already thriving Parkview Community Garden, allowing neighborhood residents to provide themselves with a locally produced and nutritious complete meal, supplementing healthy vegetables with a fresh protein option. This project will also provide an opportunity for neighborhood residents and participants to gain valuable knowledge about environmentally friendly practices related to urban food production, renewable energy production, and resource conservation, empowering them to implement changes within their own homes to improve the neighborhood’s quality of life.

So please donate to this unique project and take part in the ongoing revitalization of the Idora Neighborhood and the City of Youngstown. The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving as the fiscal agent for this project, making your donation tax deductible!

-A.S.

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