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Aquaponics Dreaming in the Community R’ Garden

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Aquaponics Dreaming in the Community R’ Garden

By Sustainability Interns | December 12, 2014

I have worked in the R’Garden for about 6 months now including my internship over this past summer, and since that time, I have gotten intimately attached and connected with the space. As I’ve gotten to know every nook and cranny in the garden, I’ve started to see great potential for growth and development. The R’garden has only been in the lot 30 space since 2011, so it has really only just begun its journey in sustainable development for and on the campus.

One space that has really caught my attention is the abandoned greenhouse in the back area of the garden, originally owned by Botany, the space in the back has been untouched for nearly 8 years. When I walked into it for the first time, I could hardly walk without being scratched by the overgrown dried weeds.

But as I walked through the space, I started to become really excited because I could immediately see so much potential for use of the area. But the most exciting aspect was the huge shell of the greenhouse. As fate would have it, we recently made friends of the garden who are both experienced and passionate in Aquaponics. So long story short, we are all excited and hopeful to succeed in building an aquaponics greenhouse by revitalizing what’s left of the old greenhouse. It’s going to be a steady journey with many complexities, but we are attempting to move forward with small steps, first to clear out and clean the space of dead trees and weeds.

We recently visited a functioning aquaponics greenhouse at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands. This visit allowed us to get a better idea of what we could do with our own. Serving Proud Industries was kind enough to give us a tour and answer our many questions.


At this point, it will be helpful to mention what Aquaponics is. I’m definitely just beginning to learn all these things myself. Aquaponics is the new trend of modern and sustainable urban agriculture, which is an efficient self sustaining system to produce not only plant food crops, but also fish. The system is similar to hydroponics, except the fish and the plants work together to mutually benefit each other. Once the system is established, the plants provide the fish a source of algae and the fish provide the plants with nitrates and nitrites which are converted from the fishes’ waste product. The museum is using tilapia as their fish source as you can see in the photo below.

We are really excited about the project and are even more thrilled to share knowledge about Aquaponics with you all. We believe that Aquaponics has the potential to be a solution to helping solve local food problems and reducing hunger in our community – essentially we want to be able to give people the knowledge, skills, and tools to provide their own sustainable food sources in a modern and convenient way. If you would like to help us in our mission, we need folks to help with finding and applying for grants. Funding is the most important aspect, if anyone would like to help with this process, you can email our team at ucrgarden@gmail.com or contact us through our Facebook page at UC Riverside Community Garden. If funding isn’t your forte, there are plenty of other projects and tasks in the garden as well! We welcome everyone to visit and participate with us in the garden, we exist to learn, teach, and grow together.

by Tracey Walters

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University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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University Village
1223 University Avenue, Suite 200

Tel: (951) 827-1270
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