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Greenhouse and Gardens

The Greenhouse and Gardens

The Micro-Farm greenhouse and raised- bed gardens are busy places year-round! Since 2003, AGCS students have been gardening on our campus. We've developed an ideal space for students to actively experiment with hands-on, sustainable agriculture. They experience a deep sense of accomplishment in nurturing small seeds to harvest.

Our gardening has evolved into impressive crop production! AGCS Micro-Farm produce and eggs are donated to the Chester County Food Bank, used in the AGCS Cafeteria, and (if there is a surplus) sold to staff and local restaurants to help support the farm. We maintain a working aquaponics system in our greenhouse, which simultaneously raises fish, vegetables, and plants on a year-round basis. 

Greenhouse Aquaponics

Aquaponics is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as fish, snails, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrification bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. 

How it Works

As existing hydroponic and aquaculture farming techniques form the basis for all aquaponics systems, the size, complexity, and types of foods grown in an aquaponics system can vary as much as any system found in either distinct farming discipline.

At the AGCS Micro-Farm, we've grown a variety of lettuces, herbs, and house plants simultaneously with bluegill, goldfish, and tilapia in our aquaponic system.

Harvested food and eggs from the Micro-Farm
Aquaponics system with plants on top and tilapia beneath



Diagram of an aquaponics system with a grow bed and fish tank


Around the Greenhouse and Gardens

Student tending lettuce
Boys planting a tree
Girl planting a tree
Boy working with aquaponic system
Students packaging lettuce for food bank
Students preparing field for planting
Packages of lettuce for sale
Students planting seeds
Students learning about aquaponics
Students building a water channel
Students tending a vegetable bed
Girl with tilapia from aquaponics system
Students touring the greenhouse
Students filling buckets with compost