EPICS Urban Farming is a team of seventeen undergraduate students designing and implementing an aquaponics and food distribution system in Gary, Indiana. With the area being a food desert, most people turn to corner stores for food that is easily accessible and cheap but unhealthy. From this diet, there are quite a few widespread health concerns that the population of Gary, Indiana, faces daily. For example, obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions are some of the most common diseases that plague the community. Urban Farming is working to aid in combating these issues with the partnership of Pastor Marty Henderson, who has also worked toward this through his organization, Peace Garden and Farms based in Gary, Indiana. The target audiences of this outreach are single parents, the elderly, and households with no vehicles. We currently have two teams, each focusing on production of fresh produce and distribution respectively. The aquaponics team has designed an automated aquaponics system to provide fresh leafy greens, and the community-based agriculture (CBA) team helps distribute the fresh produce from the aquaponics system and educate the community about how to prepare the produce for it to be healthy and enjoyable. This semester we are taking the first steps of installing the complete system by implementing a fish aquarium in Gary in order to create a biome for the fish, which will then be used as a part of the aquaponics system. The CBA team has also begun testing their distribution methods and recipes with a small kickstart group of families in Gary, Indiana.
"EPICS Urban Farming: Bringing Sustainable Fresh Food to Gary, Indiana,"
Purdue Journal of Service-Learning and International Engagement: Vol. 7
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/pjsl/vol7/iss1/22