Celebrating Episode 50! Creating a flourishing green space amidst busy Brooklyn, New York is just what Yemi Amu, co-founder of Oko Farms has successfully created. Established in 2012, Oko Farms is a commercial urban aquaponics and educational company. Its current biggest project is called the Moore Street Farm in Bushwick, a 2,500 sq.ft. farm where they raise a variety of fish such as channel catfish, tilapia, and goldfish as well as herbs like basil, shiso, mint, cilantro, and more and where they sell mostly to neighborhood restaurants. Education-wise, they have built solid partnerships with the Department of Education through a program that connects public school children to farms around the city as well as a partnership with a nonprofit housing developer, Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation.
Listen in as Yemi talks about her training with Morning Star Fishermen. Yemi illustrates their aquaponics system, initially growing plants in coir and later transferring them to rockwool as their growing media. Learn more about how Oko Farms is dealing with downy mildew issues through different techniques such as foliar spraying with compost tea. Other plants they’re growing include mint and the Japanese-herb shiso.
On the business side of things, Yemi talks about marketing and getting started in business with aquaponics, how they started small and getting funding through partnerships with different entities such as the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation, Green Thumb, Home Depot, Build It Green, New York Restoration Project, and The Awesome Foundation.
Lastly, Yemi touches on creating value-added products, licensing (they actually only make products that don’t require licenses), what products fall under the 20-C exemptions, and the value of developing relationships in the community to reduce your need for getting loans.
Read Full Show Notes
50: Urban Aquaponics in Brooklyn, NY, with Yemi Amu of Oko Farms
Oko Farms is a commercial urban aquaculture and education company in Brooklyn, New York. We utilize a hybrid of aquaculture and hydroponics known as aquaponics to raise freshwater fish along with a variety of vegetables and fruits. On our farm, waste water from the fish tank is constantly pumped through several hydroponic grow beds to provide nutrient rich fertilizer for our plants. In return, the plants filter all of the toxic waste from the water while it cycles through the system. This constant cycling of nutrients via fish waste creates an extremely efficient recycling system that allows us to avoid the toxic environmental run-off that characterizes current aquaculture practices.
The Moore Street Farm is a collaboration between Oko Farms and the Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (BEDC). It is a 2,500 production aquaponics farm in Bushwick, Brooklyn and the largest outdoor aquaponics farm in New York city. The farm cultivates a variety of freshwater fish including catfish, tilapia and crawfish along with a variety of vegetables and herbs.
By implementing aquaponics in New York City, we shrink our carbon footprint for fish consumption, reduce the ecosystem pollution and health concerns associated with commercial-scale aquaculture, and produce a high-yield of organically grown vegetables in dense urban spaces.
Special Bonus! Happy 50th episode!!!
Here’s what you’ll learn from this episode:
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