PORTLAND — Portland Arts and Technology High School received a $3,000 grant to expand its use of aquaponics, a growing system in which aquatic animals are farmed and their waste is used to cultivate plants and vegetables.
“We have experimented with growing plants in this system and would like to produce enough greens and herbs for our culinary and food service programs during the school year,” said Kathleen Tarpo, landscapes and garden teacher at PATHS. “The goal is to design and build a system that is expandable and showcases new technology. Troughs will hold water and we will grow plants on floating rafts made from Styrofoam, with holes and little soil plugs.”
PATHS has a small aquaponics system that includes a 25-square-foot grow bed, a sump tank, an electric pump, a 50-gallon fish tank, and a 50-gallon water treatment reservoir. The program provides students with hands-on experience in greenhouse production, landscaping and sustainable agriculture.
The grant was funded by proceeds from Maine’s specialty agriculture license plates, which encourage support of local agriculture.