Harlem Children’s Zone School-New Aquaponic System



harlem1Producing nutritious food for human consumption is a global issue and malnourishment occurs in many parts of America – not just in resource limited areas like Haiti. In April 2014 we were asked to provide a working model of a small-scale food production system at the Harlem Children’s Zone School in Harlem NY. The system was designed and built to provide students with fully operational fish and plant production system that would serve as a teaching tool and demonstrate how healthy foods could be produced in urban areas using minimal space.  Fish and vegetables, can be harvested by the students but more importantly the system serves as a teaching tool.  Students  gain “hands-on” experience learning the basics of wastewater treatment, nitrogen cycling, simple agricultural techniques, and fish production.

Plant specialists from the Kohlberg Foundations’ Cabbage Hill Farm in Mount Kisco NY provided equipment, seedlings and expertise for the vegetable component of the system and worked closely with the MBL’s Sustainable Aquaculture Initiative to ensure the plant and fish components would meld. Tilapia, various varieties of leafy vegetables and herbs are now being produced and harvested by the students.



The enthusiasm and excitement shown by the students has been incredible.  For many of the students this is their first encounter with “farming” and they are gaining a whole new perspective on how healthy foods are produced. It is our hope that someday larger versions of these food production systems will become a consistent reality in urban areas for those who wish to produce nutritious food using minimal space.