The New Urban Farmers is a non-profit based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island that focuses on effective ways to grow food and increase food access and education in our urban low-income community. Our 1.5 acre home farm (The Garden of Life) is located in the Pawtucket Housing Authority, who offer programs to help individuals empower their lives. The garden is home to three geodesic dome greenhouses that are allowing us to incorporate innovative and sustainable technologies. A great inspiration of ours is the New Alchemy Institute, who were able to grow bananas through-out winter in New England in the 1970s. We are researching and utilizing both old and new technologies for the next generation of farmers. Inside our largest greenhouse contains two separate styles of aquaponics systems, a media bed style and a raft style. Both of which are growing food and raising Tilapia fish. Aquaponics is based on nature, and works in the same way; plants, fish, and microorganisms equally benefit one another to complete the system. Water containing fish waste is broken down with the help of microorganisms which is taken up as fertilizer by the plants, and the then filtered water returns back to the fish. We have found that the ability to grow vegetables, greens, and herbs together in a system with fish (Tilapia) creates an excellent source of food that is also a great educational tool. It is a sustainable system, using far less water than traditional farming and aquaculture applications. Produce from our aquaponics systems is being sold at our local markets to help fuel our garden programs and feed our community. In Spring, we plan to have a large community fish fry with the Tilapia.
Now that we have built our systems and have them running, it is now time to ensure year round growing in them. This is where your help will allow us, the New Urban Farmers, to obtain needed materials to heat our dome all winter long and off the grid as much as possible. Your contribution will go towards building two HG3 composting systems, creating solar water heaters, and a small solar panel system.
An HG3 system is a "High-Performance Heat Green Home Heating System" that takes food waste and turns it into heat. The system works with beneficial microbes that break down food wastes so efficiently that it generates a heat source. We intend to build two systems to create an ideal temperature in our dome greenhouses. We want to recycle old drinking bottles to create solar water heaters to regulate the temperature in our fish tanks and to decrease our need for grid electricity. We plan to utilize our waste materials in the community and turn them into functioning aspects of the domes. Implementing a small but powerful solar panel system will allow us to run pumps and air stones from the power of the sun and ultimately decreasing our reliance for grid electricity.
Here at the New Urban Farmers we say: a community that grows together - grows together. Your help will make our aquaponic geodesic dome greenhouse a warm and sustainable place where food is grown 365 days a year, even in a New England winter. We believe a place like this can change the face of our food by allowing even cities to be home to farmers. A place where food is common, healthy, and fresh.
- (33 days)