Using Sustainable Agriculture to Address Food Security Before, During, and After a Disaster

Grants and Contracts Details


PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT: The project goal is to improve community awareness regarding, understanding of, and preparedness for long-term food security throughout a disaster using sustainable agriculture. Aquaponics is a food production system in which fish and plants are grown together in a recirculating water system. Nutrient rich water from the fish tank enters the hydroponic plant beds where the plants filter the water; then drains back into the fish tank for the cycle to begin again. Aquaponics systems require low-inputs, can be located indoors or outdoors, and, with modification, can be operated in the absence of electricity. This emerging technology is an innovative platform that can empower communities to become more resilient in the event of a disaster or emergency. Objectives to be reached by the end of the performance period of the project are to: [1] Develop and implement an nationally applicable aquaponics program related to improving community involvement in and awareness of the role of food security in disaster preparedness and [2] Develop educational materials to compliment the above program that improves public knowledge about overall community resilience. Accomplishment of this goal and supporting objectives will be achieved through developing peer-reviewed teaching materials, conducting trainings, recruiting trainers/participants and evaluating results. Two locations in urban and rural Kentucky have been selected based on their potential to reach underserved or non-traditional audiences and communities that could be isolated during a disaster or emergency. Each system will evaluate how much food can be produced from small, home-based systems, a cost benefit analysis for stakeholders, and if the means of implementation can be improved based on feedback collected throughout the project. In addition, material will be developed detailing how to build and maintain the system including fish and plants, how these system can be used in disaster preparedness efforts, and their ability to serve community needs during a disaster. Existing extension-based materials describing proper food preservation and storage techniques and disaster and emergency preparedness actions related to food security will be updated and included as an additional resource. With the growing popularity of aquaponics, there is a great potential to reach communities on a national platform through this work. In addition, the importance of community-driven food security will be enhanced using a unique and innovative approach to disaster preparedness.
Effective start/end date9/1/148/31/16


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $93,002.00


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