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 (soilless plant farming).
Farmer Profiles: Laura Genello and Dave Love
Laura caught the farming bug in 2007 when she started a two-season farm apprenticeship after graduating college. The Food System Lab lets Laura pursue her love of the hands-on art of growing food, while creating something that will hopefully leave an impression on everyone who comes to visit.
Dave joined the Center for a Livable Future in 2009 to study alternatives to the industrial model of food production, and began the aquaponics project to showcase alternative fish farming methods. Before raising tilapia, Dave grew up farming oysters in the Chesapeake Bay. His background is in water quality and food safety, and he has worked and studied at the University of California, Berkeley, and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Where We Grow
We’re located in a hoophouse near the greenhouse complex of the 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.
Volunteer With Us!
Come visit us! We offer open hours every Wednesday from 10 a.m, to noon for individual drop-ins. We also offer group tours by appointment for your school group, community center, garden club, etc. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.