Aquaponics classes give CYC kids a big picture view on agriculture

How It Works

For the kids at CYC-Elliott Donnelley Youth Center and CYC-Fellowship House, this summer is set to be a time of growth – in more ways than one.

 Starting in July, CYC youth will learn about aquaponics gardening through Chicago Youth Centers’ partnership with Aqualogue, a non-profit based in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village that started last year.

Aquaponics is a farming method that uses 95 percent less water than traditional practices by using an ecosystem that has both plants and live fish to mutually benefit one another. 

Aqualogue’s goal is to educate students on the topic with a scaled-down approach that is compact, user-friendly and replicable. CYC will be a pilot site for the organization’s new education program.

Through our partnership with Aqualogue, our students will learn how to build these mini-ecosystems and the science behind how the plants and fish work together to create the tasty veggies they might eat at home.

Students will also learn the basics of agriculture, which allows them to think critically about where their food comes from in addition to how a circular economy works.

CYC's goal is for youth to develop 21st-century employable skills which include critical thinking and adept social awareness.  Employers are looking for people who understand the importance of teamwork and can connect the dots. Through creating ecosystems with aquaponics, CYC youth will gain a "big picture view" of the world and understand how parts relate to a whole.

“The partnership with Aqualogue will help our students understand not just the science behind aquaponics, but also gain a better understanding of cause and effect,” said Monica, Arts & Innovation Coordinator and a member of the CYC STEAM Team. “I’m excited to see what the kids take away from the experience.”

The students will be meeting the educators from Aqualogue about once a week for an hour.

To learn more about the Aqualogue program or how aquaponics works, visit