Enrichment Susan Shiffman » Aquaponics Garden

Aquaponics Garden

Integrating aquaponics into the school’s curriculum has allowed both hands-on STEAM instruction and an extension beyond the classroom to a broader discussion of sustainability. As the world population soars, oceans are overfished and farmland is depleted, innovative solutions are needed more than ever. Students have taken personal interest in food desert programs, water sustainability, and food waste around the US, as well as problem solving global food problems. 

Cranbury School’s Aquaponics System is a true deep-water showcase of controlled environmental agriculture.  Aquaponics 2.0 includes a 600 gallon fish tank with a viewing window. While this adds an aesthetic touch to the system, it also serves a vital purpose as the home of 20 Koi fish who play an integral role in the symbiotic relationship of Aquaponics. The 4 x 30 foot commercial deep water culture bed and associated aquaculture system produces vegetables and microgreens.The system is 100 percent student managed, allowing for notes on Water Quality, Plant Growth and Seed Seed Starting to be taken directly on the custom dry erase Deep Water Culture Beds. Starting with seeds, this self-sustaining ecosystem will foster crop rotation and harvest of 50 heads of lettuce weekly. Another feature of this system focuses on NFT (Nutrient Film Trays) where students will be growing and harvesting Microgreens in a 10 day grow cycle. 

Cranbury school’s Garden Club takes place  after school for students to put their Aquaponics skills to work on the new system to help harvest and donate our organically grown produce to the local food bank. 

By establishing a STEAM Aquaponics program that also supports our community, Cranbury School has significantly grown our sustainability initiative, as well as created a sense of stewardship among our students.