School gets new aquaponics system
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The Robert L. Ford Elementary School’s community garden now has a new feature. The school this past spring installed an aquaponics system, housed inside its newly built Harry Harley Hoop House in the garden. An aquaponics system is a type of food production in which fish and plants are raised together, using the same water. The Ford School’s system consists of a 250-gallon water tank to house the fish, and an adjacent raft system where plants grow and are nourished by water from the tank. The school has been raising lettuce and other edible plants, and recently 45 juvenile tilapia donated by Salem State University’s Cat Cove Marine Laboratory were introduced into the tank. School officials and the Highlands Coalition, a neighborhood group that has been actively involved in the development of the garden and the aquaponics system, recently held a ceremony dedicating the hoop building — a type of greenhouse — to the late Harry Harley, a former Lynn Technical High School science teacher and treasurer of the coalition who designed the aquaponics system prior to his death last year.