project leader
Alexis M
234 Glenmore Ave
(Brownsville, Brooklyn)
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the project

"Grow Brownsville" was conceived by local start-up Universe City NYC and is a project aimed at building the First Commercial Aquaponic Farm in the Brownsville/East New York area, bringing the GreenTech Revolution to the East New York Industrial Business Zone. 

Universe City NYC is a minority- and women- owned start up located within a 5000 sq ft warehouse where local residents can grow their business, art, and projects alongside access to urban farming, education and trade. Universe City NYC is located at 234 Glenmore Ave in the East New York Industrial Business Zone.

With the capital raised through "Grow Brownsville" Universe City NYC will not only bring the residents of Brownsville and East New York Access to Fresh Locally Grown Food but the Opportunity to Learn and Grow Organic Hormone-free food with their own hands.  In East New York and Brownsville there is a strong need for both education and accessibility to healthy living.

Universe City NYC was established February 2019 by founders-- Alexis Mena, Brittany Markowitz, Franklyn Mena, and Jill Bellovin who are dedicated to reshaping the local food systems via teaching, community building, entrepreneurship, art, and aquaponic farming.

With "Grow Brownsville" Universe City NYC looking to provide access to fresh and organic vegetables, fish, fruit and/or mirco-greens to the community at large. With the "GrowBrownsville" funds will be look to serve the local food systems within the community including; local residents, schools, shelters, and local restaurants.

The "Grow Brownsville " monies raised will be allocated to investing in a grow system,  building and planning the Universe City NYC curriculum, and purchasing supplies for our workshops.

This project is the result of efforts of local artists, entrepreneurs, and residents coming together to think and act on new ideas on how to liberate their community and themselves from cycles of violence, poverty, and displacement.

the steps

Once the money is raised the following steps will be:

  • We will be purchasing a Vertical Urban Aquaponic System. 

  • Purchasing Grow Lights from local lighting manufacter Legion Lighting Co.

  • Materials are ordered and delivered to the site.

  • Hire and train local community members for on-site construction

  • Build completed within 2 weeks of start date

  • Six months Training and Maintenance to build the bacteria culture for fish cultivation begins.

why we're doing it

"Grow Brownsville" is a direct response to the need for shifts in food culture, healthy food access, entrepreneurial training, and the ability to obtain these things for ourselves. Poor health outcomes tend to cluster in places that people of color call home and where many residents live in poverty. Obesity can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. The diabetes rate in Brownsville is 15%, the sixth-highest rate in the city. Our farm will work with public housing residents, schools, and shelters to directly affect local food systems.  

There is a strong need for both education and accessibility to healthy, fresh and organic vegetables, fruit and/or mirco-greens within these communities. 

Our effort is to aid the need for food sovereignty and workforce development in East New York and Brownsville. Our Aquaculture & Aquaponic Systems will be the First commercial farm & an educational farm in the East Brooklyn.

The farm will be a commercial & educational farm will be used to create CTE programs which are valuable, high impact programs on par with college preparatory programs and a critical part of the current New York City workforce development plan,  and will strengthen and expand Career and Technical Education in Brownsville. 

Through "Grow Brownsville" Universe City NYC hopes to assist NYC in building a more qualified workforce in the agriculture field.  Due to new environmental laws bills being passed in our city and climate change being more important than ever, it is clear that we have to develop a curriculum that will strengthen and expand the career opportunities that will become available in the industry of sustainability. Universe City NYC will offer courses and workshops that will teach residents in our community how to lead, manage and be a part of the new agricultural and technological opportunities available.  

"Grow Brownsville" will help us bring formalized academic programs teaching farming and technical opportunities that will prepare enrolled students for a seamless transition into post-secondary opportunities in two or four-year degree programs, further training, apprenticeships with urban agriculture, lighting, and design.

 Through partnerships with Legion Lighting, Smash Industries, Entrepreneurship, Maverick Scrap Metal, Kinnon group, Green City Force, Department of Transportation, and Oko Farms, the LDC of ENY, The F.A.R.M, Salvation & Praise Seafood, and GreenFood Solutions, The Brownsville Community Culinary Center  we are creating opportunities for local employment. 

Universe City NYC programs will be formalized academic and technical education opportunities,  prepare enrolled students for a seamless transition into post-secondary opportunities in two or four-year degree programs, further training, apprenticeships with urban agriculture, lighting, and design.

According to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency there are 10.3 million renewable energy jobs globally  – a 5.3 % increase since 2017. The latest report on the makeup of the US energy sector workforce (PDF) also revealed that During 2016, the US solar workforce increased by 25% and the number of employees in the US wind energy industry increased by 32 %.renewable energy employment is growing.





Oko Farms Build Consultant's fee and Education workshop series: $2,500

Systems parts and equipment: $6,000

Tshirts and prize products for folks who donated: $1043.12

TOTAL RAISED = $10,411.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $520.55
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $312.33

Aquaponics System Design: $5,000.00

Cost of Materials: $15,000.00

Installation: $10,000.00

Maintenance (12 months): $15,000.00

Vertical Aeroponic Grow Unit utilizing pallets: $5,000.00

SUBTOTAL = 50,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $1,500
TOTAL TO RAISE = $51,535



Sorry, but this project doesn't have any updates yet.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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