By Clara Logan, Director, Mastro Montessori Academy
Cody Parker is the owner of Drop the Beet Farms, a 20,000-gallon aquaponics facility in Freehold, NJ. With an undergraduate degree in Sustainable Agriculture, Cody found that his love of aquaponics and sustainability required more than his formal education was providing. He acquired his expertise in the subject through trial and error, independent research, and years of experience. Cody was first inspired to follow this line of work by his third-grade science teacher Ms. Ilene, who he credits with motivating him and sparking a love of science through hands-on experiences. He now operates Drop the Beet Farms, the largest aquaponics facility in New Jersey, growing 5,600 plants and 45 three-foot koi fish in a closed-loop ecosystem.
Drop the Beet Farms hosts guided group tours of the farm year-round. Students can learn how aquaponics work by conducting a water quality testing exercise on the system, and then take home a pick-your-own soil-free salad mix. It’s an engaging hands-on experience where Cody shares his enthusiasm for aquaponics with the students and encourages questions throughout the tour.
Cody is also building Aquaponics Systems for local schools to harvest sustainable produce year-round, and serves as an aquaponics consultant for several school systems in New Jersey. He custom designs and builds aquaponics systems that complement the classroom environment and provide year-round produce indoors.
Additionally, Cody hosts mobile oyster mushroom cultivation workshops regularly that are fun for all ages. He brings pasteurized straw to any event space and engages large groups as they make their very own oyster mushroom kits. The kits can fruit three to four times inside on the kitchen counter.
Cody is taking the next steps to make aquaponics farming widespread and accessible to encourage sustainable gardening at both small and large-scale levels. For more information about Cody and his amazing aquaponics farm or his consulting services, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clara Logan moved to Monmouth County from Maryland in July of 2017, taking over as the Director of Mastro Montessori Academy located in Shrewsbury, NJ. Mastro Montessori is a private, AMI Montessori school serving children ages 15 months through sixth grade. Mrs. Logan earned her AMI Certification from The Montessori Institute in Denver, her Master’s Degree in Montessori Education, and an undergraduate degree in Sociology. She has brought green initiatives to Mastro Montessori and is committed to helping the school reduce their carbon footprint.