After many weeks of working hard with local partners in and around New Orleans building community support for recirculating farms and farmers, it was time to hit the road and visit a few of the many recirculating farms around the U.S. (see some of them here on our new farm map!)
First stop – New York. There, we spent time at farms in Brooklyn and also further upstate in Mount Kisco.
In Brooklyn, I met up with our summer outreach and advocacy intern Mari Flora, and Paula Daniels, a Senior Advisor on Food Policy from the Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s office. Together, we visited Dr. Martin Schreibman at Brooklyn College where the Aquatic Research and Environmental Center is raising tilapia, horseshoe crabs and other critters in an indoor recirculating aquaculture lab. Brooklyn College also has several small-scale aquaponic systems growing peppers, lettuces, and herbs together with tilapia. Recently, the college added vermiculture (using worms to create nutrient-rich soil) for other growing projects and just completed a beautiful rooftop greenhouse. Joining us were Edward Schultz, Julia Schultz and Mike Kubis – hopeful new farmers from New Jersey, interested in building an aquaponic facility. We all spent the morning with Dr Schreibman, and then Paula, Mari and I headed out for an afternoon in Mount Kisco.
Mount Kisco is about an hour north of Manhattan. It has rolling hills, a fantastic downtown area and a metro north train station that takes you straight to Grand Central. It’s home to Cabbage Hill Farm – an idyllic non-profit family farm that includes traditional soil-grown produce, assorted well cared for animals and an aquaponic greenhouse. (See our video here of Cabbage Hill Farm and also photos).
Barney Sponenberg is the manager of the aquaponic greenhouse at Cabbage Hill Farm.He’s growing a variety of greens – lettuces, herbs, chard, bok choi and more – and raising trout, tilapia, and bass. Barney shared with us his growing process, challenges, successes and ideas for how to improve the function of the recirculating system. Cabbage Hill Farm sells their produce and fish to various local restaurants and stores, as well as at farmers markets.
Stay tuned for our next stop – Chicago!