Written by Sherry Reed
TAWGS' September meeting was held at the Trash Mountain Aquaponics Project center. Thanks to Chris Newell for setting this up for us and to Chris Mammoliti for sharing with us the history, the mission and the functioning of the Trash Mountain Project.
The Trash Mountain Project (TMP) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop Christ-centered environments for families and children living in trash dump communities worldwide. One way of meeting these family's needs is through the development of livelihood projects centered on aquaponics food production systems. Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (raising fish for food) and hydroponics (raising plants in water rather than soil) in a re-circulating system.
The TMP center in Topeka was set up by local founders to develop and train volunteers to take the ideas and skills to third world countries to set up their own aquaponic systems. At the training center there are rearing tanks for fish (tilapia).
There is plumbing connecting the rearing tanks to settling tanks. Settling tanks are for solids collection and biofiltration (fish waste and ammonia are broken into nitrates and nitrites). Plumbing then connects settling/biofiltration tanks to deep water culture beds. Deep water culture beds are for hydroponic gardening. Plants remove the nitrates and nitrites from the system. Water then goes to a sump tank with a pump pushing clean water back to the rearing tanks.
Trash Mountain Project believes aquaponics will help people become more self-sufficient by providing sustainable food production systems.