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Nick Rosado enjoys learning about agriculture and is especially interested in the developing field of aquaponics, a system of growing plants in the water. He is studying the subject at McArthur High School.
“We can grow many crops in a small space. It’s very interesting,” he said.
Daniel Ramirez, another student in the program, agrees. “I am enjoying learning about aquaponics,” he said.
Teacher Vincent Newman leads the aquaponics program at McArthur High School, working with students to develop the program, which is unique in South Florida. The school just received 13 tilapia fish, and they have a variety of vegetables – including broccoli, kale, spinach and parsley, among others – being planted in three troughs filled with water. The plants begin as seedpods that are placed in groups over the water. The fish waste provides an excellent fertilizer and nutrients that enable the crops to grow well in far smaller spaces than would be required in traditional agriculture.
“You can easily plant these seed pods. You don’t even have to bend down to place them,” Newman said.
The food produced by the hydroponics program will be distributed to lower-income individuals and families or sold to food markets.