top of page
  • jr81568

Yemi Amu Introduced Aquaponic Farming to Brooklyn NY

Updated: Feb 18

Black History Month

Yumi Amu :Photo Source Chef4Impact

Image Source: Espos De

Yemi Amu an African American woman started the first aquaponic farm called Oko Farm in New York City. This is a farm the grows plants without soil and raises fish in special tanks. The first site that started in 2013 was located in a fenced in area of a construction site in Brooklyn. It had 10,000 sq. feet and raised a variety of herbs, vegetables, and fish.

An aquaponic system combines growing plants and raising fish using a recirculating system. This type of farming is growing in urban areas. It needs no soil, uses less water, and the plants grow faster. This method of farming uses less energy and is more resistant to weather than traditional farming. The fish are raised in special fish tanks. and plants without soil.

Photo Source: Hawaii Department of Agriculture/Flicker /Aquaponic Fish Tank

Yemi Amu was born and grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and when she came to the United States she studied nutrition at the Teacher's College at Columbia University in New York. She received an M.A in Health and Nutrition Education. She worked for a housing facility that helped the homeless and mentally ill. She developed an interest in farming when she found a small rooftop garden at the clinic she worked.

Lagos, Nigeria Photo Source: Flicker/Robert

For several years she coordinated a farmer's market and gardening program for lower income schools in Brooklyn. She learned about aquaponics and farming because she wanted to bring more access to healthy foods to the underserved community.

She recently moved Oko Farm to a new location in Williamsburg Brooklyn as part of the River Street Farm Collective. The aquaponic system works using tubes and tanks with water. When the fish need clean water, it flows to the plants through the tubes and the plants extract nutrients from the fish waste. The water is repurified and sent back to the fish tank.

The farm located at River Street in Brooklyn sells vegetables and fish at weekend farm markets and donates leftover produce and fish to local non-profit organizations. One year they donated 450 lbs. of vegetables and fish to the community.

The farm offers school field trips, courses in aquaponic farming, herbal classes, weaving courses, and reiki classes. They want to teach hydroponic farming to the community because it uses no hormones, antibiotics or pesticides. After growing up in rural country this type farming introduces healthier foods than traditional farming. That is why Yemi Amu wanted to be an aquaponics farmer.

Market in Lajos Photo Source: Wikimedia

There are few photos of the farm or the owner in this article but if you want to learn more about Oko Farms and aquaponic farming please visit the website at Oko Farms.

Aquaponic Greenhouse Photo Source: Open Building Institute

Reference Sources:

Theirs Sentient Beings: A New Way of Raising Fish and Vegetables in New York, by Sophia Herring, Brooklyn, The Guardian, 2023

Meet The Woman Behind The Only Teaching Aquaponics Farm in New York, Edible Brooklyn and Force Brands, March 2018

Oko Farms, Urban Farming, Stewardship and Education 2024

Behind The Scenes at New York's Biggest Aquaponic Farm, by Elzar Sontag, Serious Eats, February 2021

14 views0 comments


bottom of page