GROWING TOGETHER AQUAPONICS

The mission of the Growing Together Aquaponics Program is to use the science and technology of an aquaponics system to provide pre-employment transition services to students with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and students without disabilities in a unique partnership between Slippery Rock University and the North Country Brewing Company. The program aims to ensure all individuals, regardless of abilities, are given the opportunity to participate in an employment readiness program that promotes lifelong sustainable physical activity and nutrition.

Funded by the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation and supported by DREAM Partnerships, Growing Together Aquaponics is located in North Country Brewing Co.’s 8,000 square foot production facility in Slippery Rock, PA. It features a 600-square foot, closed loop system that includes a 230-gallon fish tank; two plant beds, and a four-tier vertical set of grow racks. Fish waste provided by Tilapia is pumped through the system to provide organic food for plants located in the grow beds.

Students in the Rock Life and and Transitional Achievement Program at SRU work on the aquaponics system several days a week, introducing them to concepts related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and empowering them to lead productive lives. Students plant seeds, feed the fish, clean the clarifying tank, test the water for nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and PH, and harvest the vegetables to be taken to North Country Brewpub and The Harmony Inn to be incorporated into menu items.

Employees/Mentors at Aquaponics

Marena

Grow Specialist

Robert

Mentor

Kendall

Mentor

Groups involved at Growing Together Aquaponics

Student-workers who are a part of the Rock Life program at Slippery Rock University taking part in either an internship or paid experience with the program. Each student works through the leadership model before earring a paid position.

 

Aquaponics

Student-workers who are a part of the Rock Life program at Slippery Rock University taking part in either an internship or paid experience with the program. Each student works through the leadership model before earring a paid position.

 

Aquaponics

Our adult agencies come to our system typically for a 1-hour session 2 times per week. The individuals volunteer their time to help us in the system. While they are here, they feed the fish, sow seeds, harvest crops, and much more!

 

 

Kirkland is our very first independent worker. In his free time he enjoys working on his sketches and stories for his comic books, he also enjoys playing video games and searching the internet.  
Kirkland
Kirkland 2

Our second work-based learning experience student is Lucas, a senior from Slippery Rock Highschool. Lucas is working towards a goal of future employment with our system. A very chill person who likes to drink mountain dew and play video games.

 

Lucas

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