In August 2016, the Bristol Adult Resource Center (BARC) approached Trifecta Ecosystems to install an aquaponics system in their Greenhouse Nursery known as Jerome Gardens. They were looking to increase the impact of their nursery by using aquaponics to provide supplemental produce to the onsite Hidden Cafe and reduce their overhead. In addition, one of the issues they have faced in recent years is declining customers for the nursery. Carlen hopes that they can also use the system as a draw to bring in new customers and revenue for Jerome Gardens.
The BARC works with intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals, providing them job and personal skill development training. Carlen wanted a system that everyone at Jerome Gardens could utilize. The aGarden aquaponics system designed by Trifecta Ecosystems provided the perfect solution to Carlens goals and location needs. The vertical ZipGrow towers allowed for increased growing capacity in a 80 sq. ft. space and the recirculating aquaponics ecosystem offers an approachable method of gardening that is perfectly suited for the BARC’s individuals.
From the start, Carlen remarked at how closely aquaponics and vertical gardening matched her goals for the program. While training Carlen and her staff on their new system, they were amazed at how easy it was to plant the towers and to grow plants vertically. Within two weeks they had filled 14 of their towers with lettuce and Kale for use in the Hidden Cafe and two of their towers with parsley and chives. She was ecstatic over how easy system maintenance would be day to day and was eager to learn about the aquaponics trifecta and system cycling; the “magic” in the background that made aquaponics work so well.
Now with a few weeks of growth in their system they are excited at how quickly the plants are growing and how easy the overall maintenance is. Carlen and her staff will be making their first harvest in December and the Hidden Cafe will be making its first salads and sandwiches using lettuce grown aquaponically. It is an exciting time for the whole crew at the BARC and we are looking forward to seeing them grow and thrive with their aGarden.