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Group plans to build South Side fish farm

Published: Mon, October 24, 2011 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



The Idora neighborhood on the city’s South Side has seen growth in access to fruit and vegetables, thanks to urban community gardens.

Now, it’s looking for a little protein.

The Parkview Community Garden group is planning to build the city’s first tilapia fish farm at the former site of a vacant garage.

“It’s basically an expansion of the community garden project that we have on Parkview [Avenue], and the idea of raising fish came about in conversation at the garden between neighbors,” said Steve Novotny, a member of the garden group.

The fish would be raised in a zero-discharge aquaponics system, which is a re-creation of a natural ecosystem. The fish will be fed a largely vegetarian diet, and the water with fish waste will be pumped into a grow bed with gravel, Novotny said.

The gravel will have bacteria that purify the water, and the fish waste will be used as a fertilizer for vegetables, he said.

“It’s a recirculating, all-natural system. Ideally, we’d like to have the project completed before winter- time,” Novotny said.

The Parkview group is not alone in its interest in a fish farm; aquaculture is the “fastest-growing segment of agriculture in the state,” said Bob Calala, president of the Ohio Aquaculture Association.

Ten years ago, there were 33 licensed aquaculture facilities in Ohio, compared with more than 200 today, he said.

“Fish is the most-efficient protein source that you can produce for the amount of feed that you use,” Calala said. “If you take cattle, you need to feed them so many pounds of grain, and it’s called a feed conversion ratio. ... With tilapia, you have almost a 1-to-1 feed ratio.”

Calala said more people are turning to locally grown produce and fish because they want to know where their food comes from.

The Parkview Community Garden group gathered donations using Kickstarter.com and set a goal of raising $5,000 by Oct. 31. Different levels of pledges included incentives, such as T-shirts from Rusty Waters Apparel and Defend Youngstown.

“We set the goal and the deadline. We have to get at least the goal in pledges before the project is funded. If we raise more, we get to keep the additional funding,” Novotny said.

To donate, go to Kickstarter.com and type “Idora” in the search bar.


1Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Without a biologist running the operation they will be at risk for a multitude of fish diseases . With a closed system water quality will be the issue also .

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2snowbunny(5 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Not necessarily. As long as they start with good healthy stock and they don't allow the population to become too heavy for the enclosure to support the fish should stay healthy.

The closed system is just a smaller version of a septic system - water full of fish waste is run through gardens that remove all the excess solids and the water leaving the far side is once again safe for the fish to live in. The plants growing in the gardens will grow faster and healthier with a constant source of fertilizer. Win-win for both species.

I do wonder how they'll afford to heat it all though. Tilapia require water temperatures of 80 degrees - and we get some mighty cold winters here. Is this going to be a summer only thing? The fish can reach eating size in as little as little as three months, so I imagine that's one possibility.

I think do it's a marvelous idea, and I wish them the best!

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"The closed system is just a smaller version of a septic system"

Water coming off a septic tank leach bed is full of bacteria and virus and is not drinking quality by any means . The filtration system that they plan to use without an exchange of fresh water will have the same problems .

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4whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Good Job !!!

If you think faith can move mountains , you better bring a shovel.

Hope all goes well.

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5Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

"Septic systems are a significant source of ground water contamination leading to waterborne
disease outbreaks and other adverse health effects. The bacteria, protozoa, and viruses found in
sanitary wastewater can cause numerous diseases, including gastrointestinal illness, cholera,
hepatitis A, and typhoid."


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6pgurney(296 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Knowing the people who are heading up this project as I do, I am quite sure that there are specialists being brought in, or may have already been brought in, to head up this project and make sure that ALL of the food - both fish and the garden produce - is safe for consumption.

Remember, they'll be eating it too.

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7TheTruth4U(29 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Stan you are simply wrong. This is not sanitary wastewater, nor is it the same as a septic tank. Whoever said that is wrong.
Fish pee and poop into the water. This is not the same as mammal waste. As an example, there is no chance of e coli contamination, that is not a fish bacteria. The actual process goes like this, fish waste is primarily ammonia, the biological process turns that into nitrites, then into nitrates. The plants feed on the nitrates removing them from the water. This whole process is ancient and is done all around the world without human health problems.

In fact, separately the water from hydroponics and the water from aquaculture is a huge environmental problem, but when you put these two types together, the fish effluent is cleaned by the plants and the plants don't need anything added to the water and so do not have an effluent that is bad for the environment.


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8Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

All along we get news of how food has been contaminated by sewage sludge .

"Unlike other many other kinds of food-borne pathogens, listeria bacteria can continue to grow despite the cold temperatures of a refrigerator."


Listeria in Cantaloupes: Deadliest Outbreak in a Decade
At Least 13 People Have Died From Cantaloupes Tainted With Listeria Bacteria
By Brenda Goodman
WebMD Health NewsReviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD Sept. 28, 2011 -- The CDC says 72 people have been sickened and 13 have died as a result of eating cantaloupes tainted with listeria bacteria, making it the deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness in the U.S. in a decade.

State officials say they are investigating three more deaths -- one each in New Mexico, Kansas, and Wyoming -- that may also be connected to the contaminated Colorado cantaloupes.

The new numbers mean that the death toll has outpaced the number of deaths tied to an outbreak of salmonella in peanut products nearly three years ago. Nine people died in that outbreak.

According to the CDC, this is the third deadliest outbreak of food-borne illness since the agency began keeping records. In 1985, cheese contaminated with listeria killed 52 people. In 1998, listeria-contaminated hot dogs killed 21 people.

The melons involved in the current outbreak, "Rocky Ford" brand cantaloupes sold by Jensen Farms, were recalled on Sept. 14.

But health officials warn that that people may still have recalled melons in their refrigerators. They have also been used in some cut-fruit salads.

Unlike other many other kinds of food-borne pathogens, listeria bacteria can continue to grow despite the cold temperatures of a refrigerator.

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9Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Advances in water and wastewater treatment technology: molecular ... - Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=e0mK...

Tomonori Matsuo - 2001 - Medical - 325 pages
Samples from the fish farm were found to contain coliform and fecal bacteria levels higher than samples from the shrimp farm.

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10DwightK(1531 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Hey, Stan, aren't you always saying the Southside needs industry and jobs? This is your chance to invest.

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11Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't wish for anyone to die of foodborne diseases . The biodiversity in the proposed method of aquaculture can and will kill you . Food safety should be the prime consideration .

My interest is in promoting manufactured goods for export and not risky hobby ventures . I see a vast untapped labor pool on the SouthSide .

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12nuganuech(46 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Stan, you don't strike me as a fish eater more like a Hot Pocket eater, so don't worry about it. Over 9000 mostly negative comments, just move away if it's that bad. Youngstown: love and/or help it, or leave it.

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13TheTruth4U(29 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

Stan is just wrong. For some reason he seems to think that aquaponics results in wastewater. It does not. In fact, aquaponics is a method which deals effectively with the problems caused by growing fish and plants separately. There is nothing more to say to stan that will convince him, he is just refusing to listen to facts. He keeps comparing apples to oranges.
For the rest of you, google the word aquaponics and learn for yourselves how great this is. There are no cases of humans getting sick over aquaponically produced fish or vegetables, in fact quite the opposite in that the products from such systems are found to be bigger, taste better and much more fresh, thereby encouraging the eating of food that is good for you.
Just ignore everything Stan has to say until he decides to examine the truth or just goes away.

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14Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

TheTruth4U :

It's not what I say . . . .. I have posted biological studies and hard facts . So the biologists are wrong ?

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15TheTruth4U(29 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

No Stan, YOU are wrong. This is NOT the same as the studies you are referring to. This is not a fish farm in a pond. This is an indoor controlled environment. Very different than what you are trying to compare this to. Fish do not produce e coli or any other coliform bacteria, they are not mammals. Their poop does not contain these bacteria. It would have to be introduced. That is done on fish farms that are outside by animals that poop in the water, or near enough for rain runoff to contaminate the pond. Or by the food that a farmer is giving the fish.
A modern aquaponic system does not ever discharge any of the water in the system. There is no need to do so. The biological process is complete.
Stand, go find a biologist that is talking about aquaponics, in a controlled environment and you will learn that there are no issues such as those you are raising.

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16Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

OK . . .. I'll be eagerly awaiting the publishment of your studies in the science journals . The elimination of biodiversity in the closed loop should be interesting .

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17Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 7 months ago

nuganuech :

So . . . .. Nothing negative here, right ?

nuganuech (anonymous) says...
That's a really nice story. Now the hood rats will have a clean, safe place to hang out in, before and after shooting and killing the elderly coming from church.

Permalink: Smoky Hollow revitalization plan taking shape http://www.vindy.com/news/2010/oct/08...

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