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Aquaponics Farm To Triple In Size, Quadruple Homeless Funding

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A Vista farming operation helps homeless San Diegans in North County develop job skills. It's also a revenue stream to help homeless families in the region.

Photo by Nicholas McVicker

Long water-filled tanks in the Solutions Farms aquaponics greenhouse are shown, Sept. 16, 2015. This is where the plants mature before harvest.

San Diego County's largest aquaponics farm is close to tripling in size, and that will be a boost for a nonprofit working to end family homelessness in the North County.

Vista 's Solutions Farms began growing vegetables and fish about a year ago as a way to teach job skills and raise money to help fight homelessness. Nutrient-rich water from the fish tank feeds plants, and in turn, the plants purify the water that goes back into the fish tank. It allows the farming system to use very little water once the tanks are full.

The expansion will triple the greenhouse size and more than quadruple output, said Chris Megison, president and CEO of Solutions for Change.

The farm sells organic produce to two North County school districts and is looking to add more.

"We're hoping to at least get two other districts. We'd like to get 80 percent of the production, 80 percent of the food that we grow, into the mouths of the kids in and along the 78 corridor," Megison said.

"After three years, we see that getting up to $250,000 to $300,000, which then gives us a steady $200,000 to $300,000 a year in revenue," Megison said.

The expansion should be complete in early January.

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