Campus News

Aquaponics: A New Way of Going Green


Many people today are tired of the constant supply of processed and packaged food and are looking for new and green ways to provide their own food. One such method can be found right across the street from Saint Leo at the Holy Name Monastery.

The Benedictine Sisters are using an aquaponics system to grow their own food. Headed up by Sister Miriam Cosgrove, Aquaponics is a fresh and innovative system that integrates plants and fish in a way that is respectful to the Earth.

Aquaponics involves waste generated by fish, tilapia in this case, being changed into nutrients to help enrich water and to help grow various produce through a pipe system that runs underneath the roots. No chemicals or dyes are used, just nutrient-rich water.

Sister Miriam even says that the excess food from the monastery is made into compost to aid in growing produce. Sister Miriam has been running this system for the past two years with just her own two hands and the gracious help of some select volunteers. A handful of Saint Leo students have even been involved.

“It was an interesting experience to see the program grow and it was a lot of fun,” said Megan Vila, a junior.

Some of the produce grown at the monastery includes basic crops, such as tomatoes and carrots, but there is more variety in peanuts and papaya and even herbs, like mint and basil.

Not only is Aquaponics rewarding in its yield, but it is quite easy as well. A common cow takes 16 pounds of food a day to feed while tilapia only needs less than two pounds a year. In addition, all the food is natural and fresh.

“Aquaponics represents values of life I love,” said Sister Miriam. “Nothing is impossible for those who make it all happen.”

Sister Miriam is always looking for new volunteers to become engaged and train in Aquaponics. For more information, contact the Holy Name Monastery at (352) 588-8320 or email them at

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