Johnson C. Smith University celebrated the dedication of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) aquaponics greenhouses at its Sustainability Village during a ceremony on Friday.
Aquaponics is soil-less system for growing, making it an ideal way to grow food in urban areas like Charlotte. The system uses fish which create a fertilizer that can be recycled continuously throughout the growing system. At the time of the dedication ceremony, JCSU aquaponics greenhouse had 530 fish.
Dr. Mark A. Dugo, director of the Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainability and assistant professor of Ecology, says the donation from Blue Cross NC will help provide students with hands-on experience with using a unique form of planting.
“These aquaponics greenhouses will provide experiential learning opportunities as well as research and training for our students,” said Dugo. “This donation will also increase our capacity for production ten-fold. It will allow us to transform what is now an urban garden into an urban farm.”
“It is difficult to find the words that can accurately describe the profound gratitude I feel for these gifts. The institution of our size is very fortunate to have the Center for Renewable Energy and sustainability (CRES) and staff to operate the center,” said Dr. Vijaya Gompa, dean of the College of STEM at JCSU.