A building in Huber Heighs that has sat empty soon could be home to an aquaponics farm.
News Center 7’s Katy Andersen explains why city leaders say it could benefit the entire community.
The idea was sprouted by Jeff Held, owner of H2Grow. While it is still in the planning stages, Held said he hopes to establish the aquaponics farm inside the old Campfire Grill along Powell Street.
“We are talking about thousands and thousands of pounds of food in an urban area,” Held said.
It’s an unconventional way of farming, and it comes with a big mission to help.
“The purpose is to grow produce for people in need,” Held said.
In an aquaponics farm, plants will grow atop fish tanks.
“The fish generate ammonia in the water and beneficial bacteria end up turning that into nitrates, which the plants end up taking up and using to grow,” he said.
It's a self-sustaining system that he said will produce thousands of pounds of food year-round, including leafy greens, tomatoes and peppers.
“We will end up having 13 growing cycles in a year rather than one single growing season,” he said.
The food harvested will be sold directly to local food banks and organizations, including the Dayton Food Bank and Homefull.
Held’s goal is to bring more fresh and healthy options to people in need.
“In the food bank game, you end up getting what is donated to you or you end up having to purchase it from a wholesaler. What we are trying to do is give them some predictability,” Held said.
Rob Schommer, Huber Heights city manager, said he hopes this will continue to grow and help even more people in the community.
“Once the program begins, and is able to be built upon, I think it opens up many opportunities, schools being one of those recipients,” he said.
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