Aquaponics: Delaware farmer uses fish to grow plants

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- On a few hundred acres off of a dirt road in Dover, Delaware, a former school teacher is trying to revolutionize farming.

"Most of our greens come from California, this is a more central, very local product," said Doug Wood, the founder of 302 Aquaponics.

His greenhouse is chemical and pesticide-free, but that's not the only unique thing about it. He uses tanks of fish, tilapia specifically.

"The lifespan that we keep them for is 9 months, so 3 months in the nursery and 6 months in the large tanks," said Wood.

He and his team built the greenhouse from the ground up and opened for business last summer. The system is in the name, called "aquaponics," which is a fancy way for saying he grows his leafy greens in water.

"This water which is nutrient-rich goes into this tank and then it goes out into the system," said Wood.

The nutrients come from solid waste, which in this case is fish poop.

Wood and his team are harvesting hundreds of plants every day and he's been working with customers in a 50-mile span of Dover.

A booming business isn't the only benefit for the new farmer, however.

"I've lost 125 pounds since I started," he said.
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.