"Leafy green things grow quicker in aquaponics," said Daryl Leven, who retired from his job in corporate America and started New Way Aquaponic Farms.
"Most agriculture as we know it is rural-based. This is urban-based," Leven said. "This could be done throughout Memphis."
The 40 tilapia fish swimming in his 200-gallon tank help fuel this indoor farm. He feeds them and bacteria from their waste makes plant food.
Leven enjoys sharing his passion for aquaponics with school children. Students from Circles of Success Learning Academy learned about the process firsthand, from feeding the fish to eventually harvesting their own vegetables.
"I want them to understand that food doesn't come from Kroger," Leven said. "It doesn't come from McDonalds. It comes from a seed, and if you nurture the seed and use well-proven scientific principles you can grow an abundant harvest."
Right now New Way Aquaponics turns out about 100 plants a week. That's just enough to use as a teaching tool and to sell at the local farmers market every few weeks, but the goal is to grow this operation much bigger.
Leven plans to open a 4,000-square-foot greenhouse in six months and supply fresh vegetables and herbs to local restaurants.