A Local Church uses Aquaponics to Provide Free Food for Community
In Ravenswood, WV the LifeSpring Community Church recently began a new program using aquaponics to provide free food to poor residents in need. The church will set up its operation in an unused greenhouse that was on the property. One member recently attended an aquaponics workshop at West Virginia State University and thought it could be a good fit for the church. With additional support from WVSU LifeSpring decide the project was a good fit.
LifeSpring will donate both the produce and the edible fish they are able to harvest off the system to local community members in need. They’ve chosen to start with a 250-gallon fish tank that will feed a 4×8 grow bed and ultimately hope to scale to have four of these systems going year round. They’ll start with tilapia for the quick turn around on harvest and then transition to bluegill bass and catfish which will do better come winter.
LifeSpring is a great example of a hidden farmer group having an impact on their community. They are not setting up a large-scale commercial system or hoping to sustain their church through aquaponics. But they had resources available to start growing food for their community and because of the power of aquaponics they were able to transform an unused piece of property into a food producing piece of property that benefits poor community members who cannot afford fresh food. Churches are the perfect hidden farmer as they usually have underutilized property, be it on their grounds or in the church basement or attic, and they already aggregate food through donations for food banks and pantries in their community. If they were to add aquaponics to the mix they could up their impact even more by serving fresh produce to their local food charities as well as non-perishables. There are over 10 churches in Ravenswood alone. If they all began small projects like this it would create a huge impact on serving the unmet food needs of the community.
To read the original story including quotes from LifeSpring Community Church, click here.