What is a Food Desert?
Ward 8 is considered a food desert because it is in a geographic area where affordable and nutritious food is difficult to obtain, particularly for those without access to an automobile. Food deserts usually exist in rural areas and low-income communities. Some research links them to diet-related health problems in affected populations. Food deserts are sometimes associated with supermarket shortages and food security.

Identifying Solutions
Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment, it provides a solutions to people living in a food desert.

 

Implementing Solutions
W8ACC began developing its first urban agriculture project during the summer of 2015. The project was lead by Dr. Clyde Clark who built an aquaponics system in his backyard in Congress Heights a couple summers ago. Since aquaponics is arecirculating system, aquaponics does not require much monitoring or measuring. Its residential and commercial applications are fairly simple and affordable. Here are a few important things that we seek to achieve via urban agriculture.

Food Access                                                                                                                      •    Healthy food that is affordable to low income residents, as well as restaurants, schools, hospitals, etc.    

Education
•    Target specialized ag-tech workshops and training to seniors, youth and families
•    Adopt a school and provide specialized S.T.E.A.M. curriculum  
•    Aquaponics Café (retail, education and exposure)

Research and Development
•    D/M/D of Sustainable Agricultural Technologies
•    Life cycle assessment and food distribution modeling

Socioeconomic Benefits
•    Community supported agriculture
•    Creation of job and entrepreneurial opportunities


W8ACC Building the System

Congress heights resident latasha jones really enjoyed using new tools and constructind the system from scratch.

Congress heights resident latasha jones really enjoyed using new tools and constructind the system from scratch.

Ward 8 residents "stogey" and clyde fit the grow beds with lining.

Ward 8 residents "stogey" and clyde fit the grow beds with lining.

the filtration system is being upgraded as we move into phase two.

the filtration system is being upgraded as we move into phase two.

13 year old jaden smith measures wooden 2x4's needed to build the grow beds. he actively apply's the golden rule: measure twice, cut once.

13 year old jaden smith measures wooden 2x4's needed to build the grow beds. he actively apply's the golden rule: measure twice, cut once.

 finish up the grow bed lining.

 finish up the grow bed lining.

W8ACC volunteer Larry Schaffer helps upgrade the aquaponics system for phase two.

W8ACC volunteer Larry Schaffer helps upgrade the aquaponics system for phase two.


Phase One Complete

Now that phase one is complete and we know the aquaponics prototype work we are upgrading the system. The upgraded system will be able to farm about 1,000 organic Tilapia, 300 pounds of oysters and 700 pounds of fruits and vegetable per quarter. Stay tuned.