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Chicago nb. 7: Doing good for kids – Triple Threat mentoring farm

Napisano: 27. 05. 2016 17:17

I have learned about Triple Threat mentoring farm when I was browsing the Bright Agrotech website.  They have posted several videos of setting up the farm.

Before I came to the farm, I already felt like I know Nick Marasco personally.  And he did turn out to be a very cool guy indeed (there it is – that incredible American friendliness again!).

Nick has been a science teacher who learned about aquaponics while using small scale aquaponics systems to teach kids. He fell in love primarily in aquaponics – due to its closed-loop and sustainable nature. But when considering a farm, he decided for a hydroponics system for farming and only smaller aquaponics system for education.

hydroponics Maja Turnsek Hancic and Nick Marasco

He works with Triple Threat Mentoring – a non-profit whose mission is to “fight poverty with passion.”  They are a youth organization that facilitates relationships between youth and volunteers through our passion-based programs – where volunteer mentors work with youth and share their passion in various programs: from sports, to repairing bikes, and farming.

The Dunham Fund has provided a $550,000 grant, payable over three years for the farm’s development and program implementation. And the Aurora local government provided an old warehouse for a symbolic rent for 5 years. 

The farm system is Bright Agrotech Zip Grow farm, indoor with artificial lights. It is important to note, that he chose Bright Agrotech because he has been following them from his first days as an aquaponics enthusiast. When he decided for hydroponics, he could have gone to numerous other providers, but his heart was already set for Bright Agrotech. And it is no exaggeration to say that he is just head over heels happy about their after-sales service and their support in the Upstart University.

hydroponics Maja Turnsek Hancic and Nick Marasco

It has been set up for three months and currently Nick is focused on testing out the growth of different types of produce. He especially likes how kale is growing and is considering making kale chips. One of the main missions of the farm is namely to bring healthy food and vitamins under-resourced families. And kale chips, Nick argues, is something that kids like and is at the same time good for them.

hydroponics Maja Turnsek Hancic and Nick Marasco

Of course I had to go in the next store and buy kale chips together with a number of other vegetable chips. I am not too thrilled about kale chips though. Perhaps Nick’s kale chips will taste better. I did love the peas chip on the other hand. 

 

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