Explorations in aquaponics, highlighting my design for an economical grow wall that can be made with materials from any hardware store. It has been implemented in RISD's main dining hall as a food source and educational installation on the future of sustainable farming.

How do you supply fresh healthy food to a world with an exploding population and degrading amounts of natural resources? 

Every year Earth's population rises while the amount of productive farmland and natural resources we have decreases. A global shortage of fresh food is inevitable unless we make major changes in how we farm on our planet. Traditional farming requires an incredible amount of space and energy to grow and deliver fresh food to your plate.

  • Agriculture is responsible for 75% of the worlds fresh water usage, and traditional farming uses water inefficiently

  • Pesticides and hormones used in agriculture ultimately end up in the water supply and food chain, harming us and the enviroment

  • Agriculture uses 40% of the earth’s land and is responsible for the destruction of natural habitats and ecosystems

How could aquaponics help? 


Soil-less farming 


Controlled farming of fish


Constructed ecosystem

Aquaponics is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. It is the simultaneous growth of fish and plants in a constructed ecosystem that relies on natural mechanisms to produce high-quality organic produce and fish. As the fish produce waste, bacteria in the water convert this waste into plant nutrients, and the plants purify the water in return. 

  • Aquaponics uses 5% the amount of water of traditional farming, and can grow produce twice as fast

  • Aquaponics is an obligatorily organic system, as any added pesticides or fish hormones would kill the other half of the system

  • Aquaponics uses a fraction of the amount of land required for traditional farming, and can be set up in highly populated areas of the world like cities

Small Group System

Created with Nick Burger and Wynn Geary. Testing ground for our ideas and the first iteration of the grow wall. After the conclusion of the course, RISD's dining services asked us to install the system in our main dining hall to provide the kitchen with fresh lettuce and herbs, as well as inspire interest in the topic of sustainable agriculture to other students. 

Large Group System

A concept system designed for our dining hall. Created alongside 5 other students. My role was concept creation, CAD modeling, and rendering. The model is completely accurate to scale.

Cost Comparison

Cost comparison for 64 grow spaces provided by my design compared to what 64 grow spaces with Zipgrow™ towers, the most popular vertical system on the market, would cost.

costAsset 2.png