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Aquaponics is the integration of recirculating aquaculture and hydroponics in one production system. In an aquaponic unit, water from the fish tank cycles through filters, plant grow beds and then back to the fish.  The fish waste is removed from the water, first using a mechanical filter that removes the solid waste and then through a biofilter that processes the dissolved wastes.  As the nutrient rich water  travels  from the filter through plant grow beds the plants uptake these nutrients, and finally, the water returns to the fish tank purified. This process allows the fish, plants, and bacteria to thrive symbiotically and to work together to create a healthy growing environment for each other, provided that the system is properly balanced.

The Urban Aquaponics Workshop will be led by Duron Chavis. Chavis is engaged in coordinating innovative and dynamic initiatives around the topics of urban agriculture and local food systems in a culturally relevant way. In 2009 Chavis launched the Richmond Noir Market, a Saturday farmer’s market targeting low-income communities located in what the USDA has designated as food deserts in Richmond Virginia. 2012 marked the development of his first community garden; which subsequently led to the development of urban farms, urban orchards, urban vineyards and work in poverty mitigation, workforce development, health & racial equity.

Chavis has received numerable accolades for his work. He served in 2011 as a Clean Air Ambassador on behalf of Earthjustice and the Hip Hop Caucus. He is an alumni of Leadership Metro Richmond’s class of 2011, received Style Weekly’s Top 40 under 40 award in 2010, and the Style Weekly Power List in 2014 & 2015. Chavis served as the inaugural director of the Harding Street Urban Agriculture Center, where he led the revitalization of an unused community recreation center into a solar power equipped indoor farm complete with hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic grow systems. Currently Chavis serves as Community Engagement Manager for Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

This hands-on workshop will give attendees all the information you need to build and maintain a mixed media aquaponic grow systems in an urban garden or on an urban farm.