Growing Plants Without Soil

That is what Youth Greening Oakland teens did last summer at Castlemont High School when they built an aquaculture garden.An aquaculture garden is an indoor garden that is fertilized using fish. A fish tank is connected to the garden. Plants are grown using gravel instead of soil.

Teens also built worm buckets to make their own fertilizer and took home their own aquaculture bucket garden."It cultivates the mind and the land," said Jordyn Foster about YGO.

From July 16-20 the team, worked with Eric Maundu, owner of Kijani Grows, a small business that builds and sells aquaculture gardens, and Tim Bremner, who established the Sustainable Urban Design Academy (SUDA) at Castlemont High School. Bremner was named Green Star Teacher of the Year in February for creating SUDA, designing environmental education classes with the UC Regents, and his work as Academy Director of the Youth Empowerment School.

Students also had the opportunity to Skype with a group from Guatemala and learned about the impact lack of water and poverty has on Guatemalan communities and their access to food.

The Guatemalan group will also be working on an aquaculture garden which they will model after the one built by YGO teens.

"I enjoy working in the community - I think it benefits everyone in East Oakland," said Eddie Nunez. "I take pride in working in my community."

According to Maundu, an aquaculture garden is a more effective way if gardening because it requires less labor (there is no soil to turn, there is no need for pesticides since weeds do not grow as easily without soil.

"I am planting for the future" said YGO member Salina Bishop.

Stonehurst Elementary adult educator and garden coordinator Suzanne Ludlum agrees that YGO's work will make a difference for everyone.

"I look forward to seeing [YGO members] bring their children back to see the trees they planted in Stonehurst," said Ludlum.

Created: 11-27-2012


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