Food System Lab at Cylburn


Website: Food System Lab at Cylburn
Facebook: Food System Lab at Cylburn

About Our Farm
The Food System Lab @ Cylburn is an urban teaching farm in Baltimore City, operated year round on the grounds of the Cylburn Arboretum by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. Students and community groups engage directly with a variety of food production practices, including aquaponics, a system of agriculture that combines fish farming with hydroponic plant farming. Our diverse educational programs emphasize the important connections among the living components of a small-scale agro-ecosystem and offer a compelling introduction to an equitable, healthy and sustainable food system.

Our aim is to demonstrate the capacity of aquaponics to raise edible plants and fish in a way that is ecologically sound, while affording the Center and the Johns Hopkins community the opportunity to study this method of food production.  In addition, we serve as an educational and technical resource for school groups, teachers, entrepreneurs and individuals.


The farm is based in a 1,200-square-foot hoophouse on the grounds of the Cylburn Arboretum, where space has been provided by the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks. Aquaponics is a combination of recirculating, land-based aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soil-less plant farming).

Farmer Profile: Kenai McFadden
Kenai is a Master’s student at the Bloomberg School of Public Health with an interest in food systems and health education. He began in September 2017 as a CLF research assistant before transitioning into an operations role for the summer at the Food System Lab. He believes that the food system offers a blossoming array of opportunities to make an impact, and hopes to work in the field after graduating.

Where We Grow
We’re located in a hoophouse near the greenhouse complex at Cylburn Arboretum.

Where We Sell
Our produce is sold through the Farm Alliance of Baltimore City and are fish are sold to local restaurants such as Woodberry Kitchen.

Other Programs
Come visit us! We offer open hours every Wednesday from 10-12pm and Sundays from 1-3pm for individual drop-ins. We also offer group tours by appointment for your school group, community center, garden club, etc. Email to find out more.

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