News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Meaden & Moore

Hennes Paynter Communications

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Youngstown's seafood experiment
Urban fish-farming is part of the rebound in a neighborhood devasted by decades of decline
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Collard greens fertilized by fish waste, which is leached into the soil, so the water can be clean when it returns to the tank, for the tilapia who produce fish waste, which acts as fertilizer for the collard greens...
Courtesy of Steve Novotny
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Youngstown’s Idora neighborhood was once home to a bustling amusement park. Then the steel industry collapsed, fire gutted the park, and decades of decay followed. But today, the neighborhood on Youngstown’s west-side is known for its community gardens. And as WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports, Idora may soon offer a main course to go with its vegetables.
Youngstown's seafood experiment

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:03)


(Click image for larger view.)

Two years ago, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation was in the midst of transforming Idora’s empty lots into usable land. That meant tearing down abandoned homes and rehabbing the land into something useful. And today, almost every lot that isn’t a residence is producing fruits and vegetables or serving as green space.

Tucked at the back edge of two adjoining green lots is a small, light blue, frame building that two families once shared as a five-car garage. 

Liberty Merrill of the neighborhood coalition says part of the garage is now storage, and the rest is devoted to… a school.

“These are tilapia. They’ve been growing here for about two weeks. They’re still fingerlings, but they’re growing in an aquaponics system, which is kind of an integrated fish and plant system.”

Aquaponics combines aquaculture – raising sea life in tanks – with hydroponics – growing plants in water. Youngstown learned about it from the Milwaukee-based urban agriculture group, Growing Power.

In Idora, an open-topped, 300 gallon tank houses the fish from a hatchery in nearby Leetonia. Two PVC pipes bring water in and out of the tank. It travels through a long, black trough up above and flows through the gravel where basil and collard greens are growing. The whole thing takes up less space than a pickup truck.

“Basically the water from the fish tank is pumped up into there. The fish waste helps fertilize the plants and help them grow better and get better yields. And then that’s also cleaning the water for the fish. So it’s a very dense system.” 

The system gets daylight through the roof, which is now greenhouse plastic. And a solar-powered thermal system heats the water to the 85 degrees that tilapia prefer.

For the past few weeks, of course, the heater has been switched off.

As with a lot of Ohio farmers, this summer’s heat and drought have caused Idora some problems. Merrill says it sped up evaporation. But even that problem is being addressed: a water collection tank is being installed to collect rain off the garage’s steeply slanted roof.

The Idora fish farm has been operating for about two weeks, and got its start with 25 thousand dollars in grants from the Youngstown Neighbhorhood Development group, the City of Youngstown and a Kickstarter campaign. It’s also one of about a half dozen aquaponics labs in the state.

“This is really just a pilot project. We want to get into this because basically we can grow vegetables but if we can start growing fish and other proteins in the neighborhood, then you’re really getting whole meals. So that’s really what it comes down to: trying to find ways to produce different kinds of food in the Idora neighborhood.”

In the past two years, the greening of Idora has brought other changes to the area.

A new grocery store, Bottom Dollar, has opened down the street. The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation is converting a house into an on-site office for the urban farmers. A large potato farm is proving a hit with members of the food co-op. And a solar-powered refrigeration hut will go live in a few weeks to preserve each week’s harvest.

As for the tilapia, Merrill says the fish will probably not be ready to eat till the winter, when the first harvest will go to a neighborhood fish fry.

Related WKSU Stories

Youngstown opens Idora gardens
Friday, July 16, 2010

Listener Comments:

Thanks for highlighting this unique Youngstown project!

We'd like to acknowledge the Raymond John Wean Foundation's Neighborhood Success grants program, the Youngstown Foundation, the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, and Youngstown State University's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering for making this all possible!


Posted by: Steve (Idora Neighborhood) on July 11, 2012 12:07PM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Study shows raising the cigarette tax a dollar could raise $342 million
So, it takes an expert to tell us raising the tobacco tax raises the revenue for the state? Doh. By the way, any one who was going to quit smoking probably alre...

Akron's Highland Square celebrates community spirit and public art
Both Donna and her husband, Joseph are both such amazing art talents! The photos look stunning! I must get down to Angel Falls for an in-person look. I just l...

Pluto: Another off-season, another Browns quarterback conundrum
The Browns do need a draftable QB for the future. Johnny Manziel needs to go and that leaves Brian Hoyer and Connor Shaw. Free agency doesn't really have any so...

Exploradio: Improving the lives of paralyzed people
God bless you doctor. I hope to be alive the day that humans, like me, can use the results of your search...

Nature and nourishment down by the river at the Metroparks' Merwin's Wharf
I love QUICKBITES! I look forward to it every week. One question: is it possible to include a link to the restaurant or store that you profile? Thanks!

Canton's proposed Timken-McKinley school merger is drawing spirited debate
From a sports opinion Varsity would have a lot more talent to choose from So Im sure varsity sports would improve.Also Timkens name would be much more published...

Canton school board will decide whether to merge high schools
I really hope we can save those jobs, usually we try to cut budgets but the demand is still the same. Then we look bad a year or two after the descion is made. ...

FirstEnergy wants PUCO guarantees on nuclear and coal prices
Would just comment that the plant has admitted the following (as reporting in the Akron Beacon Journal): "The utility has said it may have difficulty keeping t...

Mozzarella's easy when you have a way with curd
Hello, Where can I get such a heater that you have? Does it hold temperature that you set? What brand and model is it? Thank you in advance!! :)

Pluto: A healthy LeBron James is the key for the rocky Cavs
It's time to back our Cleveland professional teams through thick and thin. I've seen management, players and coaches come and go and it hasn't changed a thing. ...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University