Although outside its boundaries and basically its mission, the Buckhead Coalition has partnered with Georgia Tech to help fund a research system that plans to recycle 1,000 pounds of food waste per day from the local community and provide fresh fish and vegetables as an end result.
Known as "Aquaponics," it is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture with hydroponics in a symbiotic environment. This involves raising aquatic animals such as fish, in tanks with plants cultivated to grow in water.
The Coalition’s participation will be to fund the student fee for adding a large thermal mass inside the greenhouse to regulate the temperature during both summer and winter.
The facility, ArkFab, is being built on the four-acre wheat Street Gardens, next to the Martin Luther King Center, by three Georgia Tech student groups: Engineering Students without Borders, Engineering Students for a Sustainable World, and the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. To create “rammed-earth tire walls for insulation, they will pull discarded tires from Buckhead creeks and transport them to the ArkFab site, for which the Coalition has pledged $2,500.
Major funding for ArkFab is from a $50,000 Ford Motor Company grant. This was in response to Tech’s initiative to transform the present Wheat Street Gardens into the first urban farm in the nation to be a net renewable energy producer. It expects to provide 500-pounds per month of fresh fish and vegetables for the inner city.
This venture is under the auspices of Dr. Steven W. Van Ginkel, Research Engineer II Daniel Lab. He estimates they will need 500 tires for the thermal mass walls, which it is believed can be obtained primarily from Peachtree Creek and Nancy Creek, according to Coalition president Sam Massell. He adds, “Cleaning up our creek beds is certainly within our mission to nurture the quality of life” of this community.