Together We Stand - Aquaponic Gardens and Practical Education Center
The Together We Stand Aquaponic Gardens and Practical Education Center offers educational institutions, governmental agencies, agriculturists, and community leaders the opportunity to learn from and participate in the development and operation of this self sustaining food processing facility.
The Together We Stand Aquaponic Garden and Practical Education Center offers a variety of hands-on activities, larger sized demonstration programs such as special guest lecturer programs and in-depth exploration programs, and an area to explore the development of a growing facility for plants, vegetables, herbs and holistic remedies. On this very special five acre land area, Together We Stand will expect to house over 10,000 plants and vegetables, thousands of fish, and livestock inventory of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, peacocks, and rabbits.
The Together We Stand facility will eventually be a leading example of an alternative learning environment that will include:
- Standard Greenhouses
- Aquaponic hoop houses
- A worm depository
- Poultry houses and outdoor pens for livestock
- A composting operation
- A rain water catchment system
- A fully assistance department that will provide homeowners the opportunity to maintain their own home garden
- A retail store for members to pick up weekly food baskets of the farm’s production
Aquaponics is a symbiotic growing technique where fish and plants are grown together in the same eco-system. This self contained growing environment provides organic products that grow faster, grow year round, are tastier, and use approximately 90% less water. When properly designed the growing area will occupy less land and the carbon footprint left behind by this process is virtually non-existent. Aquaponics has proven to be one of the most effective growing techniques to suburban and urban areas. At the Together We Stand Aquaponic Gardens, several different sized aquaponic farming units (from small home models to larger outdoor commercial size units) and a variety of growing techniques of aquaponic gardening (from raised beds to hanging gardens) are on display.
The Aquaponic process
The Together We Stand Aquaponic Garden uses an ancient growing technology that has been present in nature since water, fish and plants have been growing together. In the aquaponic process - fish eat food, and their waste is broken down by bacteria that are found naturally in water. The nutrients in the water are then pumped into the plant beds where the plants absorb these nutrients. By absorbing the nutrients in the water, the plants actually clean the water, which is then returned to the fish. This process is called the Nitrogen cycle.
The Together We Stand Aquaponic Garden currently uses Tilapia as their fish source. Tilapia is relatively easy to raise, offer a benefit to fat burning processes for the body, and offer a great source of nutrients. One serving of tilapia has more than 50% of the daily value of protien, it provides your body with 30% of its daily necessary value of B12 and niacin. Tilapia also contain no sugar and very little fat – a true guilt free food for those who want to lose weight.
Good soil produces good food, good soil starts with good compost. Compost is organic matters that have been decomposed and recycled as a fertilizer and soil additive. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. The compost at Together We Stand will be made of recycled food waste, farm waste, and other organic stables such as hay and coffee grinds. Together We Stand will work with several local food stores, and restaurants to acquire this food waste. Much of the additional ingredients for composting will come from the end products of many of Together We Stand programs. Farm waste will be obtained from the rabbit, chicken, and peacock inventory. Also partnerships will local newspapers will be developed to obtain old editions of papers. Through these composting efforts Together We Stand will help to lower the amount of waste that is going into Broward County’s landfills.
Together We Stand Gardens will supplement its food and produce production with a variety of livestock. This livestock will help to create necessary fertilizer and be a great source of protein. Our livestock will be fed all-natural, sustainably raised grass, vegetables and proteins for a healthier diet. No growth hormones or antibiotics will be used on any livestock at the Together We Stand Gardens.
Together We Stand livestock will include:
- Fish (Tilapia)
- Worms (Red-Wrigglers)
To supplement the composting actions at Together We Stand Gardens, the process of vermicompost is used. Vermicompost is the process of utilizing worms, in this case - red wigglers, in composting materials to produce a richer and more nutrient enriched material that is used in our growing beds. The reasons for Vermicompost are:
- It produces free, all-natural fertilizer/soil amendment for gardens, and produce
- Get healthier plants without the use of chemical fertilizers
- Increase disease resistance in pants
- Avoid paper and plant wastes from filling up landfill
- Quicker composting ( about 1/3 the time)