As COVID-19 continues to impact food security for many individuals, we must create more sustainable and viable options for producing healthy food in our communities. Marine Education Initiative seeks to launch an aquaponics food security effort to sustainably grow fresh vegetables and fish to help provide those in need with highly nutritious meals.
In South Florida, 11.6% of the population is food insecure, with 706,430 people not knowing where their next meal is coming from. Due to COVID-19, more than 15% of South Florida households now say they do not have enough to eat, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People currently facing hunger are likely falling further behind academically and economically as they continue to struggle to buy enough nutritious food to meet their needs.
Marine Education Initiative's Aquaponics Food Security Program will sustainably grow produce and help provide those in need with highly nutritious meals. The revolutionary farming technique of aquaponics allows us to raise fish together with fresh vegetables. Our aquaponics system will be set up in an indoor controlled warehouse environment in South Florida to eliminate any potential risks associated with growing produce outdoors. The produce will be disbursed monthly to area soup kitchens.
This program will also serve as an educational tool for our marine conservation education programs as well as job training opportunities for youth interested in pursuing careers in agriculture. In addition to supplying local soup kitchens monthly with fresh produce, this aquaponics initiative will serve as an educational tool for local public and private schools. We seek to partner with schools to promote STEM education by implementing smaller-scale aquaponics systems on school campuses.