Aquaponics System is a Growbed of Greenery!

Our Aquaponics System
By: Syra Bhatt

It has been a year since our updated aquaponics system has been put into place, and I’m sure many will agree with me when I say how far we've come since 2017. But like all things, our aquaponics system is quite different from what it used to be. It has evolved and changed in many ways. Hang tight while I explain where we were, and where we're headed.

A look into the past (and future)

Before we begin, I’d like to introduce the produce that the system is currently growing. So far, you can spot both seedlings and  full-blown plants of spinach, romaine lettuce, arugula, chickpeas, alfalfa, and microgreens, including Asian salad mix, mild micro mix, spicy mix, basil, and even cilantro. Last harvest season, Mrs. Shiffman and the fourth graders at Cranbury School helped harvest eleven pounds of produce,  all grown in a couple of weeks. But where did this food go?

Currently, our aquaponics system is collaborating with Skeets Pantry and Farmers Against Hunger, to share our produce to a host of pantries in the area. Seventh grader Charlie Vachris, Mrs. Shiffman, and I are working to form a partnership with The Trenton Soup Kitchen, an organization that Charlie has a close working relationship with.  Meanwhile, students can participate in Mrs. Shiffman’s Garden Club on Friday afternoons. You can spot our aquaponics system in the dining hall at school. Right now, our Koi fish are helping us grow 100 plants in the deep water rafts, 250 seedlings are in a constant rotation on top, and an additional twelve big plants, growing in the back of the system. As you can see, our system is flourishing with fresh fruit and veggies. In fact, any produce that was not donated  was occasionally found in last year’s teacher’s lunch, which made for an excellent garden pizza!