Here’s a story of someone who wanted something and went out and made it happen. The person we’re talking about is Yemi Amu. She wanted fresh food, so she, along with Jonathan Boe, co-founded Oko Farms.
The farming operation is happening in Brooklyn, New York. It’s not outside the borough, it’s in the concrete jungle, so to speak. Yemi Amu learned the basics of aquaponics, and now she’s running her own operation, providing farm-fresh produce to her neighborhood.
|With Aquaponics, Farming Oasis Rises in Brooklyn|
Brooklyn generally isn’t known for its agriculture. But that’s exactly where Yemi Amu saw the need for locally grown fruits and vegetables.
With Jonathan Boe, she co-founded Oko Farms, an aquaponics farm that operates within 2,500 square feet of space outdoors, crammed among shops and businesses in the New York City borough.
Aquaponic farming involves raising fish in tanks with plants growing in beds. Wastewater from the fish tanks filters through the plants’ growing beds to fertilize them. The plants then filter the waste from the water, providing a clean environment for the fish.
Amu started Oko Farms as a production operation, but so many people wanted to learn aquaponics that she now focuses more on education than production.
Amu uses several aquaponic farming methods, including deep-water culture, ebb and flow, and nutrient film. She grew up a “city kid” in Lagos, Nigeria, but studied agriculture in high school.
After emigrating to the U.S., she worked as a nutrition educator. Many of her educational clients in Brooklyn felt that fresh fruits and vegetables were for “rich people” and not for them.
“I realized there was a relationship with food that I took for granted,” Amu said. “I understood where food comes from and most of my clients still didn’t understand where food comes from. Many children think food comes from the internet or the grocery store.”