When you walk into the greenhouse behind Joe Walker Elementary School in South Franklin Township, you’re greeted by a 110-gallon tank filled with 27 large tilapia.
Next to the tank are long troughs covered by dozens of “rafts” on which a variety of greens, including parsley, rosemary and cabbage, are sprouting.
The tanks and the troughs, and the fish and the plants, are all connected by a complex pipe system.
The water from the fish tank is pumped through an irrigation system to feed and water the plants, which float on Styrofoam beds. The plants filter the water, which the fish fertilize with their waste, and the clean water is pumped back into the fish habitat.
The plants can’t live without the fish, and the fish can’t live without the plants.
Welcome to McGuffey School District’s aquaponics greenhouse, where students get hands-on experience in the future of sustainable farming.