Even among the many creative and innovative projects housed inside American Steel Studios in West Oakland, Kijani Grows stands out. The aquaponics company makes garden systems in which plants and fish grow together through an efficient water recycling mechanism. In other words, it’s a sustainable, half-fish-tank-half-garden that turns fish waste into plant nutrients. No soil is required, and the gardens, which can be placed indoors or outdoors, basically take care of themselves — especially because they use “smart” systems, meaning they rely on sensors that automatically monitor factors like water-flow rates, and send real-time alerts through Twitter or text message, allowing gardeners to monitor their aquaponics remotely. Kijani Grows produces and installs these systems for homes, schools, and offices, and also offers courses in aquaponic garden design. When done right, the systems are also a reliable source of fresh, organic veggies — making them much more valuable than your average fish tank.
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