Part of their mission is to reduce crime rates, create jobs, and impact the youth to make a positive difference in their lives.
What made these guys so cool was the fact that they were working on developing a tilipia farm. Inside those white tanks swim 1,000 tilipia. This is one of their prototypes and they are now trying to develop one that will hold 100,000 tilipia at a time.
Myself and Kassey (an intern for AFA that organized the volunteers and I had the oppurtunity to kick it with her all day) are checking out the filtration system. Essentially the fish poop is clean and the nitrate is taken out of it, filtered and put into the aquaculture (plants grown without soil) that sits above the tanks and the fish clean the water which is then drained back down into the fish tanks. It's a lot more technical and complex than that, however that's my basic understanding.
The tilipia swimming away and Jason the founder showing them to us!
Another awesome thing was that they harvested Duck Weed. On the left is the duckweed growing. Every other day they harvest half of the duck week and the next time they go to harvest it, it has replaced itself. Jason carried around the bag of dried duckweed and jokingly said "my weed is how I fit into the neighborhood". They feed it to the tilipia as it's highly dense in nutrients in addition to a supplement. Eventually, they want to solely feed the tilipia duckweed and earthworms that they grow themselves in their compost.
I don't remeber how many worms where in this compost, but it was A LOT!
In addition to the tilipia they also grow bamboo which is currently used on their farms as stakes for tomatoe plants and can also be ate and could even be used to build bicycles.
They also had chickens at their house and they are currently working to make it easier to have chickens in urban areas with their city officials. A group of officials actually were on the garden tour and came to visit them!
There is also a community garden about two blocks away from this farm. We were talking to one of the Urban Farming Guys and he said that anyone in the community can have a raised bed if they would like one. In addition to the raised beds there are a few rows of corn and a pumpkin patch that different families have volunteered to take care of. It was so awesome to see those that don't have the sterotypical connection to agriculture getting involved in it. The garden even had a small sandbox!!!!!!
The Urban Farming Guys are partnered with the Rock Solid Urban Impact which is a religious based organizqation. They have Rock Center in an old school right next to the Community Garden. They hold wrestling practices there and essentially work to get the youth involved into different activities so that they won't get involved in drugs and other sorts of violence.
This community certainly does have a lot of hope!
These families may not be living in the lap of luxury and may be struggling everyday to see an impact in the community that they have completely changed their lives to help. They are working with city officials to make it easier to for families to own chickens and goats at their own houses in the city. They also have posted a ton of informational videos about making your own laundry soap, creating your own aquaculture, goats, biodigestors, and all other sorts of things to make implementing agriculture into your everyday life easier. Check them out here. They are doing amazing things in their community and you can see how they are making a difference and a major impact just by doing something they are passionate about and really enjoy. It was so easy to tell that each one of these people apart of the Urban Farming Guys really enjoied sharing their story and were passionate about what they were doing.
This family that we spent the day with were fun to be around, charismatic, passionate, caring, humble, and innovative. A lot of the day we hung out with their 16 year old daughter who thought of what they were doing as nothing abnormal, just a regular lifestyle which was probably the coolest thing. It was normal and ordinary for her to live with farm fresh eggs and a garden in her back yard in the inter city. If it was normal and ordinary for everyone in every city how cool would that be? If every child in the world knew that eggs came from a chicken rather than a grocery store shelf, that they each were able to expierence garden fresh produce, that they had a hand in feeding themselves and knew how important agriculture was to the world. That would be Agtastic!
This family might not live in surburbia and may be surrounded by violence and poverty, but they have a white picket fence and I believe that they are truely living the American Dream spreading agriculture and spreading hope to all around them!
That's all folks :)