Food Systems Lab at Cylburn Arboretum
Demonstrating a sustainable food production system
The Food System Lab at Cylburn is an urban teaching farm in Baltimore City, operated on the grounds of the Cylburn Arboretum by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF). Our diverse educational programs emphasize the important connections among the living components of a small-scale agro-ecosystem and offer a compelling introduction to an equitable, healthy and sustainable food system. Visitors engage directly with a variety of food production practices, including aquaponics, a system of agriculture that combines fish farming with hydroponic plant farming. Individuals are welcome to visit during our weekly open house hours (see below), or email us to schedule a visit for your group. The Food System Lab offers tours and field-trip programs for school and community groups. Find out more >>.
What is Aquaponics?Aquaponics combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soilless plant farming). Water is continuously recycled among the various components, flowing from the fish tanks, to the waste treatment tanks, to the plant growth tanks, then back to the fish tanks. This recirculation capitalizes on the mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationships among three components–fish, beneficial bacteria, and plants.
- Fish are raised on healthy vegetarian feed.
- Bacteria convert fish waste into nutrients necessary for growth.
- Plants serve as a biofilter, purifying the water before it is returned to the fish tanks.
SupportThis project is made possible by a grant from the GRACE Communications Foundation and the generous support of the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, which has provided greenhouse space and technical assistance.
ToursThe demonstration project is open every Wednesday from 10am - noon for individual drop in visitors.
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