An Aquaculture / Community Garden vision for the East Cleveland Intergenerational Complex and NEO

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Thu, 01/04/2007 - 16:21.


Outline Proposal for Integration of Aquaculture (hydroponic /soil based organic vegetable <--> fish farm setup)


The sustainable food generation mechanism proposed is bold and visionary yet pragmatic and creates multiple revenue streams as well as a sustainable food production cycle which will generate ongoing food and financial resources for the community for which it is designed. In this case we propose an indoor setup which incorporates separate bins for Tilapia breeding and hydroponic organic vegetation respectively. This setup is synergistic with either indoor or outdoor soil-based gardening and vermi-composting as well.

Beyond the baseline, we will add never before integrated innovations:  alternative

energy powering the system,  hi-tech quality control monitoring, and modularity.

This system will be a sustainable living machine which can serve quite well as a tactile

and experiential, intergenerational, and educational tool to enrich the lives of all who

interact with it or are exposed to it.


An excellent primer for outdoor aquaponics model :


A second fantastic primer:

The key to sustainability will be to tailor the best practices and core elements from the outdoor model to the creation of an indoor model that can occupy minimal space – perhaps 1,000 square feet or so. The benefit of an indoor system is such that a year-round learning center is available for student use and the continuous production of fish and vegetables. If a greenhouse is utilized natural sunlight is also captured.

A great blog entry detailing a full scale greenhouse-based farm is here :

and the fish most preferable for the project are Tilapia : http://grows<--!break-->

Our Proposal for TIS Basement Production

If not, and without daylighting of some sort, artificial lighting will need to be incorporated. This is the innovative approach we are advocating for use in the Intergenerational (Star) Complex, which could utilize basement space to create a learning and produce center for students, staff, and faculty alike. The setup we envision would have the following requirements:

The most important factors in creating a successful sunless indoor Tilapia <--> Organic Hydroponic <--> Vermicomposting loop are the following:


    1. Artificial Lighting:  for this step we ideally want energy efficient grow-lamps


    2. Feeding – duckweed grows and with algae feed the vegetarian Tilapia


    3. Stock Densities need to be maintained for optimal performance! (see links)

        a. Tilapia

        b. Worms (red wiggler) 

    4. Water Quality

    5. Breeding

    6. Vermi-composting

Revenue Streams generated by each sub-process:


    1. Fresh , pollutant/metal free Tilapia for local economic opportunity 

    2. Organic Hydroponic produce (lettuce, cucumber, water-friendly, nutritious for all)

    3. Less water friendly organics grown in community gardens or soil bins

    4. Sludge from fish tank perfect feed for vermicomposting –-> worm feed

    5. Nitrates created excellent for the process –bacteria in plant root ammonia of fish

        waste converted by plants to nutritious nitrates for plants (Papyrus excellent) –

         another possible revenue op

     6. Vermicomposting red wigglers feed on sludge and chaff and produce waste

          that is super plant food and  fertilizer (castings) = revenue stream!

     7. Soil enriched and cleaned organically – fungi can facilitate lead abatement by

         consuming lead like a sponge, contracting toxicity into a smaller space!

This proposal is pure genius

I love the holistic nature of this approach - this is the type of innovation we need to see in Northeast Ohio. I look forward to seeing this in operation soon.

Disrupt IT

could you make compost tea there?

Great idea! Now I have been thinking that someone in Northeast Ohio should be making compost tea. I posted about compost tea use for bio remediation in New Orleans here see the science Scott's needs. Later I did more research on compost tea preparation and found excellent resources here at the Kitchen Gardener. As an economic development opportunity, it seems that once the Brownfield GIS is done, we will be in need of lots of compost tea for breaking down the complex chemicals that are in our soil in the city. If it is working for New Orleans where the pollutants have been spread far and wide by the flooding, it may work for us, too. Either way it is an excellent source of plant nutrition and no one I can find is brewing it here in Northeast Ohio. Now you can purchase the compost tea made by Terracycle in NortheastOhio, here, but it would be great to have this as a bioremediation output of this operation, too, for local use.  

SR - great proposal - sprinke the following in as neeeded.

seriously, the supporting curriculum would practically write itself. 
when you need some water filtration, pumps, mechanics, etc, there are several buildings full of them at the old Sea World.  Cedar Fair aint going to use them  (no mo animals at their parks) and they are collecting dust. Maybe we can get a deal on some.    PS they have some serious fiberglass tanks as well that would be just the thing.   They have heaters, and filtration as well... again mothballed.   Heck they have everything they need, and I know where to find former operators of most of the gear for training.

Also, back when that stuff was all running, and Shamu lived in Aurora, a guy by the name of  Pete Mohan headed up their aquarium program.  He's a smart guy and now works for the Columbus Zoo I believe.   

So what I am saying here is that I used to work with folks that know how to do some of this (keep fish healthy in tanks).   Granted we were not fattening them up for a fish fry!   Freeking count me in....   O and I have access to eisenia foetida as well whick you identified as a necessary ingredient in your proposal (red wigglers).

Would like to go on record again and suggest that ingidinous/native/local species of fish is at least considered?    Perhaps a eco_logical aquaculture program has multiple species errr uh flavors of fish to market anyhow?   Walleye, Perch, BlueGill, Sunfish, Steelhead.   MMmmmm.

Next thing you know someone with a background in living machines and aquaculture will move back to town......   O wait.

What other stars need to line up here?

A Blog On DIY Aquaponics

Just thought there might be some interest in this....


Snow Camp Aquaponics

"A blog to document the trials and tribulations of starting a home aquaponics operation without any prior knowledge or experience of aquaculture or hydroponics."


Sunday June 15th's entry:

"Well, I've given up on the tilapia. No word from Foster Pond and Lake, and another blogger sent me an email advising me that I'd never be able to find large tilapia this late that people would be willing to part with. So, we went to Petsmart and bought 30 goldfish. At $0.28/fish, the price was right! Obviously, we don't plan on eating them, so unfortunately, our system will not be a fully functional aquaponics system - more like a water garden/hydroponic veggie garden. Oh well, maybe next year...

Here are some photos. One thing that seems certain - yellow squash seem to like the set up, and so do tomatoes."

(nice photos too)


I feel the pain...

I haven't read through the whole blog but read enough to relate to the trials of green experimentation... we're still only half way through most of our green projects. But this too shall pass.

Sudhir and I were talking about the aquaponics of the Star Neighborhood and whether you can build a healthy environment for Perch or Walleye... and it seems so. So why not go native???? Shouldn't be too hard to stock them around here...

From a websearch... fish that do well with aquaponics:

Walleye -
Tilapia -
Yellow Perch -
Lake Perch -
Bluegill -
Channel Catfish -
Hybrid Striped Bass -
Northern Crayfish -
Largemouth Bass -
Smallmouth Bass -
All Carp -
Goldfish -
Sunfish -
Bream -
Crappie -

I'm thinking, Walleye, Yellow Perch and Crawfish... yum

Disrupt IT


Local AIA should bring in Michael Hough City Form and Natural Process.  If he is still alive.  He and John Todd of New Alchemy, Buckminister Fuller, Paola Soleri of Arcosanti--all dabbled in visions for a new self-sustaining city.  Just a bunch of hippies, back in the day.

Time to program out this Star Neighborhood basement

Sudhir and all - we are now programming out the development of this facility, as part of our first Star Neighborhood. Green Triangle is leading the permaculture analyses and we've discussed the aquaponics potential here, as well as growing organic mushrooms and other local foods uses. It is time to make some decisions on this, so whoever wants to proceed with any planning in this Star Neighborhood should contact me as soon as possible - norm [at] realneo [dot] us

Disrupt IT

Aquaponics, Mushroom, and Strawbale Greenhouse

I think the three above could all be done on the property, the aquaponics vision, the mushroom module (logs up top, or bins below) and the Strawbale Greenhouse vision we engaged on at Vel's Purple Oasis, which we could replicate at the Star Site.  It's about time we got some great traction on this, I've had a heart for this work for a very long time.  So I'll help however I can, with TRUE and COMPLETE community collaboration and support.  We need to accept and include everyone's help, as this is for One caring community after all - and we don't need any more hating, fighting, infighting, etc.  One collaborative community team.  If we can agree to all that, we'll  be rolling in no time.

When do we start?  Glenville work will gain as well, which is a great thing and my colleagues are lighting up Hough as well.  Let's do this.

Lots of good plans... which to implement now

In three years of planning redevelopment of this neighborhood, we have brainstormed through just about everything imaginable here, and all are good ideas.. I love reading through our notes on realneo and in correspondence, as this is all very well documented.

Now it is time to "get to work" and program out and develop what makes the most sense for this neighborhood, not because it is possible but because it is the right thing at the right place at the right time. That doesn't mean let's do everything, but rather let's figure out the right things and do them.

Of course, we are already working on the composting side of the planning.

Masi proposes strawbail greenhouses, but we already have huge buildings we may use for greenhouses on site. What it the economic model for any of the greenhouses being built already - what are they costing for what purpose and how many jobs are created. Who is paying - who is earning what?

Same for aquaponics, for that site. What are the economics.

So far, mushrooms sound like the smart play for the basement to me...

Disrupt IT

August 27, 2009 – Ohio Department of Agriculture to Accept Aquac

August 27, 2009 – Ohio Department of Agriculture to Accept Aquaculture Grant Applications

Offers Training Seminar for Interested, Eligible Applicants

Columbus, Ohio – suffered financial losses associated with high feed costs. A training seminar for interested, eligible applicants will be held Sept. 11 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Seminar Room A, 8995 E. Main St., Reynoldsburg.

This training session is open to the public and will assist anyone interested in putting together an application. Department staff will go through the application step-by-step and answer questions potential applicants may have.

Aquaculture producers eligible for reimbursement funds include those who experienced a 25 percent increase in feed costs for the 2008 calendar year. Eligible aquaculture species include: sunfish (bluegill, hybrids), yellow perch, largemouth bass, striped bass, trout, salmon, catfish, tilapia, carp, goldfish, koi, amus, baitfish (minnow, shiners), freshwater shrimp, and crayfish. Funding for this program is made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Applications must be received by the Ohio Department of Agriculture no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, September 18, 2009. They may be mailed or hand-delivered to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, 8995 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068, to the attention of Jeff Kalbus.

All funds will be distributed to eligible producers by early November.

For more information, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-2620. For a copy of the guidelines and application, visit


have some more corn and soy

Yes indeedy, you can have your corn and soy served up by way of an artificially grown fish.

Recognizing the impact of high feed costs on aquaculture producers in 2008 when the cost of soybean and corn-based ingredients reached record levels, Section 102(d) of the Recovery Act provides $50 million of funds to administer the 2008 Aquaculture Grant Program (AGP). The AGP will assist aquaculture producers for those losses associated with high feed input costs during the 2008 calendar year.

What is this world coming to? How about working on water quality improvements so we can eat fish that comes out of a stream, river or lake? Never mind, I stopped eating fish a long time ago (coastal girl) because if it's been swimming in that crap... But I don't intend to begin eating more corn and soy with scales and gills. No thanks.


 And clean up the air too as mercury makes its way via the air into all rivers, lakes, ponds, all bodies of water.

Aquaponics USA: Ready-to-Use Aquaponic Kits for Home Fish Farmin

Aquaponics USA: Ready-to-Use Aquaponic Kits for Home Fish Farming

by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA on 09. 8.09

aquaponics usa backyard aquaponic systems photo
Image credit: Aquaponics USA

From Gavin Leiminer's guest post on aquaponics as the urban food revolution to the Aquaponics Made Easy DVD, there is a huge amount of interest in combining hydroponics with fish farming for a mutually beneficial partnership. Most notably Will Allen's Growing Power team in Milwaukee have shown how aquaponics can produce a remarkable amount of high-quality protein and veggies on very limited urban land. But what about the home hobbyist who doesn't have time to build their own? A US company is now offering off-the-shelf aquaponic systems for wannabe backyard/garage/greenhouse fish farmers. Click below the fold for more details.

Based in Yucca Valley, California, Aquaponics USA are clearly believers in the idea that our industrial food system won't be around forever, and we'd better start growing our own food for security, health and economic well-being. Their contact page even states that they have a short wave radio system in case "things get really dicey".

The company offers one and two bed aquaponic systems that include fish tank, grow bed, growing media, pumps, all necessary plumbing and fish feed. All you'll need, so they say, is electricity, a water supply, and a drain. You'll probably need some fish and some plants too. And if you're planning on growing inside, then you'll need a grow lamp (which Aquaponics USA also supply).

The systems aren't cheap - starting at $2495 for the one bed set up - but if they are as durable and productive as the company claims, they should pay for themselves in only a year or two. And if the proverbial do-do really does hit the fan, as Aquaponics USA predict, then a source of home grown protein and veggies could prove invaluable...


By refusing to deal honorably with others, you dishonor yourself.