Many people in the NYC horticultural community know Dr. Martin Schreibman and his work but it’s doubtful that many in the population at large know about him and his work at Brooklyn College. Dr. Schreibman wasn't a presenter at the recent TEDxManhattan "Changing the Way We Eat" event but Marianne Cufone was (watch this video). Martin is a board member of the Recirculating Farms Coalition.
Martin is also the founder and Director Emeritus of Brooklyn College’s Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center (AREC). It’s a long name to remember but a key part of AREC is its aquaponics lab (the symbiotic raising of both fish and plants).
There is little doubt that aquaponics is playing a key roll in developing facilities for localized urban food production. It is a modern method and the antithesis of throwing tons of dirt on the roof of an industrial building to create a traditional “farm”. Urban dirt farming may seem like a good idea at this time but there are much better ways to create a profitable urban food production business.
We already have well-known pathfinders in the aquaponics movement in Growing Power and Sweetwater Organics in Milwaukee. There are many others springing up around the country. Two good ways to keep up with the trend is to tune in to activities of the Recirculating Farms Coalition (see prior post) and the burgeoning Aquaponics Association (more about it coming soon).
The recent TEDxManhattan event gave new hope that we can move the current rather recalcitrant urban agriculture movement into the 21st Century. It was great to see progressive people like Marianne Cufone (Recirculating Farms Coalition), Paul Lightfoot (BrightFarms) and Howard Hintertheur (Center for Veterans Issues and one of the creators of Sweetwater Organics) on the TEDxManhattan program.
Diane Hatz the main organizer and host of TEDxManhattan did a superb job of assembling a very interesting menu of speakers. I look forward to seeing videos of all the presentations (coming soon) and participating in the next event.
MARTIN P. SCHREIBMAN, PhD — Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, Dr. Schreibman helped perfect a model for sustainable urban farming using cutting edge technology, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), to grow fish. Professor Schreibman is the founder and Diretor Emeritus of Brooklyn College’s Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center (AREAC), a research facility devoted to the study of aquatic organisms — how they grow, adapt, reproduce, and live in all temperatures and environments. He and a multidisciplinary team of researchers seek to answer questions about medicine, nutrition, pollution, aquaculture, fisheries, and marine ecology. AREAC’s projects include bivalve and fish aquaculture, breeding horseshoe crabs, educational outreach, and product commercialization. Dr. Schreibman has devoted the past eight years to developing urban aquaponics — growing both fish and plants together in a symbiotic water re-use system. Over the past 15 plus years, his recirculating farming techniques have been used for assorted projects — even in outer space. In 1998, on the space shuttle Endeavor, he worked with Dr. Volker Bluem of Germany to develop a small system to test whether growing fresh food in space could be an option for lengthy trips. Dr. Schreibman is a Board Member for the Coalition.