Georgia Southern University’s Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Carl L. Reiber Ph.D., and Nine Line Foundation President Megan Hostler recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at the Armstrong Campus’ Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center (SARC).
“Signing this MOU exemplifies what Georgia Southern should be doing, which is working with the community,” Reiber said. “We’re taking what we do very well, which is education, and combining it with community need. This, specifically, is a serious community need. It’s an amazing opportunity to advance all of those causes at once.”
Aquaponics, or soilless farming, mixes aquaculture, the farming of fish, and hydroponics, to fuel the growth of plants in water. The SARC, a 4,100 square-foot greenhouse, has four independent recirculating systems, each containing 900-gallon tanks capable of holding more than 100 mature tilapia.
Working within the College of Science and Mathematics, the SARC is focused on providing students, faculty and volunteers with the opportunity to conduct fundamental, interdisciplinary research in the area of aquaponics. The partnership with Nine Line Foundation will extend education opportunities to area homeless veterans and provide faculty and students an opportunity to engage with the veterans.
“We believe in not giving a handout but a hand up,” Hostler said. “In partnership with the Chatham Savannah Authority for the Homeless, Nine Line Foundation’s current initiative is to build a portion of their new veterans’ village, which will consist of 72 tiny homes and a community center. The veterans in our area will be enrolled in an aquaponics training program with Georgia Southern at a compound at Nine Line Apparel. There they will learn the skills they need to reengage in society, become more productive citizens and transition into a better home.”
An open house to showcase the aquaponics facility and research was held after the signing.
“Between Nine Line Foundation’s mission and ours, we feel that we can develop a mutually beneficial relationship that will ultimately help homeless veterans,” said SARC Director Brent Feske, Ph.D.
This is a press release from Georgia Southern University