project leader
334 Harding Highway
(Penns Grove- Carneys Point)
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the project

Penns Grove High School Students and Staff are passionate about stopping human and environmental injustices in the world through life science and we think this can be done specifically through aquaponics. Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish supplies nutrients via conversion of toxic ammonia to beneficial nitrates by bacteria for uptake by plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.  


If you would follow our story, you will see how aquaponics is a powerful remedy to the food desert epidemic in urban communities and it also mitigates the impending collapse of our agricultural and aquacultural industry.   Aquaponics tackles all three of these terrible injustices done to humanity, our land and our sea.

If you give us your time, we will try to paint a picture that captures the grim reality of these three issues:

  1. Food Deserts in Urban Communities 
  2. Unsustainable Farming Practices
  3. Unsustainable Fishing Practices

And then we will share how there is an answer provided in science, which is aquaponics. 

Here is a link to a 3 minute video that we created:

Your time and attention to this greatly matters because, with your help, we can make a difference together!



the steps


Fish tanks made of fiberglass or polyethylene,
 $               400.00

Nitrobacter and Nitrsommas 
 $                 66.95

Sweetwater Low-Space Bioreactor Filter
 $               648.39

Aquatic Feed


Floating raft made of polystyrene foam
 $               200.00

Moving bed biological reactors (MBBR)
 $                 73.00

Sump tank

Green Geodesic Grow Dome Kit
 $          41,950

Commercial DIY Package Plus Commercial Solar Greenhouse Package
 $               275.00

Solids filter like a drum or radial flow filter  

 $                 45.00

E. OTHER ITEMIZED EXPENSESJustificationQuantitySustainable Jersey for Schools Grant FundsOther Funding Sources Total Cost


 $                        -  

 $                        -  

Total Other Expenses
 $                           -    $                        -  

TOTAL PROPOSED BUDGET $                          9,991.29 $                           -    $           9,991.29


why we're doing it

Let’s look at Food deserts in urban communities first.  Food deserts in our urban communities are seen by the dark spots here on this map.



Food deserts are defined as no car and no supermarket within one mile.  Because of this epidemic, urban communities suffer from nutritional inequality.  They resort to shopping at dollar stores only to find food that sit on shelves for days and days.  Aquaponics mitigates the food desert epidemic.  It is sustainable, high class farming that can provide organic fish and vegetables, a plant and protein and be food on someone's plate in no time.


How Does Aquaponics Work?


Conceptually aquaponics is quite simple to understand and can briefly be explained in just a few sentences.  


1. Fish are supplied food in the form of floating pellets that contain a complete diet with all the required nutrients for fish growth.

  1. The fish use ONLY A PERCENTAGE of that food for growth, and they EXCRETE the remainder of it in through their feces, urine, and gills.


3. The waste material that exits the fish’s GILLS comes out in the form of AMMONIA (NH3) which becomes TOXIC to the fish at relatively low concentration. A simple biological filter is used to grow naturally occurring beneficial bacteria (nitrosomonas and nitrobacteria) which process the toxic ammonia and convert it into a relatively NON-TOXIC form called NITRATE which the veggies use as a nutrient for growth.

  1.  The fish’s FECES is rich in organic nutrients that are also further broken down by another type of beneficial bacteria through a process known as MINERALIZATION. This process releases VARIOUS NUTRIENTS that the vegetables TAKE UP to meet their nutritional demand for growth.


5. The vegetables take up the nutrients from the water and filter it as it returns to the fish which mimics a natural ecosystem. The fish, bacteria, and vegetables all rely on one another to maintain a safe environment in which they can thrive as a whole. If anyone of them is out of balance then the ecosystem will not effectively work, and therefore the MOST IMPORTANT TASK of the grower is to ensure a proper BALANCE.


Our students at Penns Grove High School want to take measures to end the food desert epidemic in our urban communities.  We were endowed with a $10,000 grant by Sustainable NJ and NJEA to build an aquaponics lab.  However, we need a structure to house our equipment.  It is recommended that we get a 42' foot geodesic grow dome.  This size dome will guarantee that we have plenty of space to grow enough food to feed a community and it will allow our students to have an outdoor classroom to gain tremendous experiential learning. 


The cost of the dome is $41,950 ($30/sq ft)= 1385 sq ft

We'll need an additional $10,000 for heating and cooling system so that we can maintain temperature and our farm can thrive all year round 

ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
TOTAL TO RAISE = $53,039

Please note: ioby fees are estimated and will be calculated based on totals at the end of the campaign.


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