When Green Phoenix Farms was founded more than five years ago, it was with the dual goals of education and production. Its founder was an educator who used Aquaponics as a means to engage his high school math and science students. Along the way, he became an enthusiastic “urban farmer,” so much so that he left the classroom to teach other adults about this sustainable method of growing food and fish in a sustainable, symbiotic environment. Today, the firm is the leading Aquaponics educator in the North Texas area, as well as a respected designer and installer of both large and small Aquaponics systems.
The next logical step in Green Phoenix Farms’ business development plan was to establish a production facility that would also serve as a hands-on workshop and seminar facility, offering advice and training for students from elementary school age to senior citizens looking for a hobby. Add about collect data
Adam Cohen and his father, David, offered a variety of classes and worked closely with local schools and community groups to promote Aquaponics and Hydroponics, both dirt-free methods that can be used to produce food in an urban as well as an indoor environment, fish management, and urban sustainability in all its forms. Green Phoenix Farms is at the forefront of the national “good food” movement.
Interest in Aquaponic and Hydroponic growing has never been stronger. Recently, Green Phoenix Farms has begun to research other products that can be grown in soil-free media, and to develop future markets for this produce, which includes micro-greens, a variety of salad greens, vegetables, fruits and even agricultural fodder. Results are promising and exciting.
Teaching and Doing
Now, Green Phoenix Farms is at a crossroads in its growth cycle. As many of you know, Founder Adam Cohen was recruited by Santa Fe Community College to spearhead a new and innovative Greenhouse Management and Aquaponics/ Hydroponics Career Development Program in New Mexico. His second semester there has just begun.
David Cohen is CEO of Green Phoenix Farms in Texas. The production facility, located in the Mansfield-Burleson area, exists with just a few finishing touches required for the greenhouse. Plans are to have systems operating and ready for planting this spring.
Even though previous plans for establishing an Aquaponics CSA did not materialize, that is still one possible direction for the future. But there are a number of other exciting directions to be announced.
Over the past few months, Green Phoenix Farms has worked with a number of local schools in ongoing programs and relationships that bring Aquaponics to the classroom. Just as is occurring in other parts of the country, Metroplex teachers and others throughout the state use Aquaponics as well as dirt gardens to teach about life cycles, science, botany, business, ecology, wildlife, natural resources, chemistry, math, and life sciences. Diet, nutrition, health and even culinary skills are supplemental benefits of the programs. And students also sometimes have the opportunity to learn basic building, plumbing and troubleshooting methods.
Teachers are enthusiastic. Students are also thrilled with the programs.
Just recently, a group of “volunteers” gave up a Saturday to work with their teacher, under Cohen’s tutelage, to build a crossover (hybrid) Aquaponics system inside their classroom at Irving’s Nimitz High School. Kassie Davidson, agricultural science teacher, inherited a non-working aquaculture system. She was the driving force to obtain her school’s approval and funding for a new Aquaponics system; and she encouraged her students to be hands-on participants.
With the needed materials already on site, and the eager volunteer labor, we completed the system for the Irving school in just one day. We look forward to hearing from Kassie how the project grows.
Taking the Message to the Classroom
Last week, at the request of Shawn Coyle, Dallas Skyline High School instructor in agriculture, wildlife, ecology and natural resources, Cohen presented the Introduction to Aquaponics (AP101) curriculum to a class of juniors and seniors. The system that Green Phoenix Farms completed there the beginning of February is in the first stages of cycling, with plants already growing.
Green Phoenix Farms has installed systems in school districts from North Texas to San Antonio, offering teachers and students a healthy serving of healthy eating.