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Home > Teen Blog > November 2018 > Building a Dream, Building a Team, Part 1
Building a Dream, Building a Team, Part 1
Posted: 11/16/2018 10:00:00 AM

Intrepid Teen Blog

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by Nav Ambassadors: Carmen, Esmeralda and Nairoby

Throughout the upcoming 2018-2019 school year, 19 GOALS Navigators, also known as Navs, will participate in various STEM-related events that involve visiting interesting areas in and out of New York City and experiencing what it is like to be a part of the workforce. This past October, the 2018-2019 Navs began their program by visiting a farm in Brooklyn. Below, some of the Navs share their most recent memories and lessons.

Insert Alt TextWhen someone thinks of a farm, the first thing to come to mind is not usually a vibrant city with endless amounts of people. The idea is most likely a rural area with loads of land and more animals than people. Oko Farms just happens to be different. It is a farm set up in the middle of Brooklyn and it is simply fascinating.

When entering Oko Farms, the one thing I didn’t expect was seeing any type of animal being bred at all. There were koi fish, catfish, and goldfish that were being raised in a small pond system. The fish were an essential part of aquaponics, which makes this type of farming different from any other type of agricultural farming. As the fish are fed, the water in the pond is fertilized and filtered, sent through a pipe to the waterbed where all the plants are set up throughout the farm, and then reused. The different plants and organisms growing in the farm were placed about six feet apart, giving the roots enough room to develop. The plants release nitrogen and other important minerals and proteins into the water that the fish need. The fish release their waste into the water, which gives the plants the nutrients they need. This system is highly eco-friendly and reuses all the water in a long-term system.

“Oko Farms just happens to be different. It is an intellectually set-up farm in the middle of Brooklyn and it is simply fascinating.”
Aquaponics is also very similar to the chinampas agricultural system used by the Aztecs. They utilized water and aqua life to grow crops and foods. In chinampas, rivers, ponds, and reservoirs were used to grow a variety of crops, but in aquaponics in New York City, the types of crops are limited due to the conditions in which they are being grown.

Despite being in an urban area, Oko Farms still grows a diverse array of crops. Aquaponics is a highly underrated system and the farmers who use this method should be given more praise. Thanks to the co-founder, Yemi Amu, we were informed and inspired by this amazing and fascinating work. She explained that as a woman in the STEM field, bringing her vision into reality was difficult, but with hard work and determination, she was able to make Oko Farms what it is today. Moreover, Yemi plans to expand the farm and is currently looking for a new lot. If you have not visited this amazing farm, it is highly suggested that you do so. You can visit the Oko Farms website to learn more.