Anaheim aquaponics farm to grow food, jobs

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Anaheim is teaming up with Renewable Farms to raise money for an aquaponics farm that would grow food for low-income families and create jobs in the city.

A small garden in the middle of Huntington Beach could change the future of urban farming.

"Our sustainable farms are pulling out nutritious, delicious food, but also making the environment a better place to live in," said Aaron Flora of Renewable Farms, a non-profit focused on sustainable agriculture.

So how does Renewable Farms do it? They use a process called aquaponics.

Here's how it works: manmade ponds hold thousands of fish. The water from the ponds gets recycled into planters, where bacteria from fish waste puts nutrients in the soil. Clean water is then pumped back into the pond.

"We're recycling water, recirculating water, saving water and growing fish and plants at the same time," Flora said.

Meanwhile, the city of Anaheim heard about Renewable Farms and wanted its own aquaponics farm. It donated a 3-acre plot of land to build one.

The expectation is that, each month, hundreds of pounds of food from the farm will help feed low-income and homeless families. The farm would also create jobs and serve as a classroom for the city's youth development program.

"It's wonderful to solve problems. A project like the farm solves a number of problems in our community," said Terry Lowe, the city's director of community services.

But, the solution is not cheap.

Renewable Farms started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the about $25,000 still needed to make the project happen.

"It's a small price to pay for the thousands of dollars worth of food we're going to be giving away for free each month," Flora said.

If the Kickstarter goal is reached by Saturday's deadline, Flora says a farm could be up and running in four months.

To donate, check out Renewable Farms' Kickstarter.

Related Topics:
societyenvironmentrecycled waterAnaheim
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