U.S. Food and Job Crises Spawn New Green Farming Coalition

The Recirculating Farms Coalition Launches U.S. Campaign for Local, Fresh Food and New Jobs

A new organization, the  Recirculating Farms Coalition, is officially launching a national campaign to promote growing local, fresh food and create green jobs. Its focus is on eco-friendly farms that use clean, recycled water in place of soil to grow plants (hydroponics), fish (aquaculture), or a combination of both plants and fish (aquaponics). The new collaborative brings together educators, farmers, fishermen, chefs, non-profit organizations and many others who are working to create an accessible, sustainable and healthy food system in the United States.

Marianne Cufone, Executive Director of the Recirculating Farms Coalition, said, “The current U.S. unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, and about one in six people are struggling to buy food. Building recirculating farms in diverse communities nationwide can provide fresh, local food and create stable jobs in a sustainable business, two things the U.S. very much needs right now.”

Recirculating farms use innovative ways to be space, energy, and water efficient. They can be as small as a desktop for personal use, or large enough for commercial operation. Well-designed farms re-use up to 99% of their water, and recycle waste. They can run without antibiotics, or other drugs and chemicals, and use renewable energy. Recirculating farms can grow fish, vegetables, flowers, fruits, herbs and more.

“I have been developing and using water reuse, recirculating systems for almost 15 years to produce food responsibly in urban settings.” said Dr. Martin Schreibman, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biology at CUNY’s Brooklyn College and the founder and Director Emeritus of their Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center. “People are just recognizing the many incredible advantages of these systems as a novel method of farming. Now, we are joining together with others – farmers, chefs, fishermen and a new wave of aware students – in this coalition to highlight the benefits of using clean recycled water, without soil, to grow food locally, virtually anywhere, year-round. This is very significant.”

Farms and other groups all around the country are supporting the Recirculating Farms Coalition and its work:


New York




The Recirculating Farms Coalition was created to be a hub for farmers, policy and law makers and consumers; a way to make connections, learn and join together in supporting recirculating farms. The organization also plans to provide training for farmers, build a model farm for teaching and demonstration and actively engage the public on recirculating farming issues.

Cufone explained, “The United States is in one of its worst economic situations ever. We need change, now. Building recirculating farms will help address the food and job crises by empowering communities to create new jobs growing their own food, in a way that is healthy for both us and our planet.”

The Recirculating Farms Coalition is a collaborative group committed to building local sources of fresh, accessible food. Through research, education and advocacy, we work together to support the development of energy and space efficient farms that use clean recycled water to grow food. We believe that these recirculating farms can create stable green jobs and supply sustainably-grown plants, fruits, vegetables, and humanely-raised seafood in diverse communities nationwide, and someday, worldwide.

The Recirculating Farms Coalition is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Wisconsin: James Godsil of the aquaponic farm Sweet Water Organics in Milwaukee, Wisconsin said, “The expanding web of Sweet Water partners, organizing around the work of Sweet Water Organics and the Sweet Water Foundation, is happy to support the inspiring vision and action plans of the new Recirculating Farms Coalition.  Partnering with the coalition will accelerate our collaborations, and the diffusion of these earth friendly food production methods which are of great importance for healthy families, job growth, and community development.”

New York: Lee Mandell, Founder and Chief Hydroponicist of Boswyck Farms in Bushwick, Brooklyn said, “Our mission is to bring high quality food to people who don’t have access to it, and teach people to grow their own food, rather than rely on industrial production. Being a part of this new coalition, and joining with fishermen, educators, chefs and others will be a huge aid in spreading and strengthening this mission across the U.S.”

Texas: “I am a fourth generation farmer, and I converted to recirculating agriculture over six years ago. People are now recognizing the many advantages of these farms,” said Susan Bedwell, Co-founder and President of Premier Organic Farms in Texas.  “We farmers are joining together with others – academics, chefs, fishermen – in this coalition to raise awareness about using clean recycled water to grow food locally, virtually anywhere, year-round. This is a very significant step in changing the quality of our food here in the U.S.”

Louisiana: Sanjay Kharod, Executive Director of the New Orleans Food and Farm Network said, “We are a food justice organization that sees food security as a basic human right, and our primary goal is to ensure that everyone can live with enough food, regardless of economic constraints or social inequalities. We support the sustainable growing of food in backyards, community gardens, and on nearby farms, which is an important way for communities to directly increase fresh food access. We look forward to supporting the good work of Recirculating Farms Coalition in and around New Orleans.”

California: “Fishermen are joining together with others – academics, chefs, farmers – in this coalition to raise awareness about how recirculating farms use clean recycled water to grow fresh local food and importantly – do so without hurting our oceans or the fishing communities that rely on them,” said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.  “This is the direction our nation needs to take to increase overall fish supply without polluting our bays and oceans or endangering wild fisheries.”

Source: Recirculating Farms Coalition