The Keney Park Sustainability Project, a program operated by the Family Day Foundation just received a $25,000 grant from CIGNA to cover the cost of 144 aquaponic growing tanks that use waste from perch to fertilize basil plants.
The Courant newspaper reports that it's the city's first production-scale aquaponics system, aimed at promoting healthy living and cooking.
The plan is to expand the system to feature more tanks and grow a wider variety of vegetables for the citizens of the North End, a "food desert" with a scarcity of fresh produce, Herb Virgo, the event coordinator for the sustainability project told The Courant.
The aquaponics system is estimated to yield as much as $45,000 worth of basil, which the Family Day Foundation will sell to farmers markets and local restaurants; the proceeds from those sales will go to other initiatives in the project, including a "test kitchen" that teaches neighborhood residents how to prepare affordable, healthy meals.
Cigna is doing more than just writing a check. Cigna volunteers are already scheduled to work at the Keney Park House throughout the summer helping to weed raised planting beds on the property.
A good deed from a good company; and an idea supermarkets can certainly follow in their communities and have these crops sold in their stores. Reinforcing what local really means.