Nile Valley Aquaponics and HOK have partnered to design a new facility that will promote urban farming and sustainable living on Kansas City’s East Side.
The organization offers year-round access to locally grown vegetables and mercury-free fish to the Kansas City metro area. The program’s founder, Dre Taylor, provides low-income youth with opportunities to learn about aquaponics through lessons, field trips and mentoring.
Aquaponics is a gardening technique in which fish and plants grow together, modeled after the natural ecosystem. Waste from the fish feeds the plants. Nutrients from the plants filter into the water and return to the fish tank. The system can easily produce organic food by avoiding the use of any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or mercury.
Nile Valley Aquaponics sits on less than an acre but currently produces more than 25,000 pounds of fish and 35,000 pounds of vegetables annually. The new HOK-designed facility will expand the facility to three greenhouses on the same site, allowing production to increase to more than 50,000 pounds of fish and 70,000 pounds of vegetables annually.
Plans for the new facility include a community event space, marketplace, chicken coop, beehives, rainwater collection cisterns, wind turbine and community-raised garden beds. The greenhouses will make use of a modern kit of parts design using economical, sustainable and easily procurable materials.