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A New Leaf tries aquaponic farming to grow year-round and create jobs for people with disabilities

Posted at 5:56 PM, Jan 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-04 18:56:48-05

A New Leaf is finding innovative ways to grow crops organically, without using any pesticides, while at the same time creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

“This is the next step to allow us to grow year-round within our greenhouse, fresh vegetables and allow us to create more jobs for our clients," says Kevin Harper, the Marketing Director at A New Leaf.

The newest thing to come to their greenhouse within the next two weeks is aquaponic farming. This soil-less method uses fish, water and rocks. The fish waste converts into nutrients for the plants and helps conserves water.

"We're teaching our clients how we can give back and also take care of our environment," says Harper.

They started experimenting with an aquaponics system at Camp Loughridge in Sapulpa since last summer and have grown everything from lettuce, squash, mint and basil.

A New Leaf has dozens of clients a year they serve by subscription. Once a week, their clients deliver fresh produce to their homes. The organization also donates half of what they grow to the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

"Last year alone, we donated close to 2,000 pounds of fresh produce to the Tulsa area," says Harper.

The two aquaponic systems being installed in their greenhouse will also be wheelchair accessible.

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