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Center for a Livable Future


October 5, 2012

CLF Launches Aquaponics Project

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) formally launched its new Aquaponics Project at Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore today with a grand opening ceremony.

The Aquaponics Project is raising about 400 tilapia fish and producing several hundred pounds of organic produce, all within a 1,200-square-foot greenhouse. The project expects to sell the fish and produce at local farmers’ markets and through Baltimore-area fish markets. Surplus output will be donated to local emergency food providers.

The Center developed this project to demonstrate the potential of recirculating aquaculture for water-efficient and ecologically sound fish production. It fits into CLF’s larger goals of highlighting potentially sustainable alternatives to our dominant methods of food production and could become a model for local entrepreneurs and backyard hobbyists.

Aquaponics combines fish farming (aquaculture) with soil-less plant production (hydroponics), where the fish waste becomes fertilizer for the growing plants. The system produces two income streams for an aquaponics business—from fish and from vegetables/greens.

CLF renovated an unused greenhouse at Cylburn, temporarily donated by Baltimore City’s Department of Recreation and Parks, and outfitted it with two 150-square-foot hydroponic grow beds and four 210-gallon fish tanks.  It first introduced tilapia into the tanks in June, and it expects the fish to begin reaching market weight by January. The grow beds are producing a variety of vegetables and herbs, including lettuce, kale, celery, basil, eggplant and okra.

The project is open to the public on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, or by appointment. We welcome tour groups. Please contact farm manager Laura Genello at