LIVE: Sam Fleming

Aquaponics and a New Way of Thinking

A Charlotte native, Sam enjoys people, gardening, and cats.

In 1950, less than 5% of all seafood species were in a state of collapse. By 2050, it’s expected that nearly 100%. Couple that with our freshwater resources are already in decline and the population is to increase from 7.5billion to 10 billion.

If we want to leave this world a better place for the people we care about the most, we have to change the way we think. And it starts right in our city.

Tilapia is one of the most popular seafood species in the planet. 40 years ago, we had to start farming fish. In the late 1980s, aquaponics was started. You raise the fish in tanks, and you use the dirty water to produce fruits and vegetables, which cleans the water for the fish. Which now recycles 100% of the water. This is a beautiful representation of how an ecosystem works.

Growing plants without soil with hydroponics was what Ron Morgan wanted to implement in Haiti. Ron brought Sam over to his house to help him with hydroponics because it wasn’t working well. Sam built an aquaponics garden in Ron’s backyard. Pretty soon, kids came up to the garden wondering how it’d work. So they started teaching the children about science and aquaponics. This was not just a cool way to grow food for the environment but was a profound teaching tool for students.

For the last 4 years, Sam has been teaching incarcerated young men about aquaponics. Before he knew it, they were installing these gardens all over Charlotte and Haiti.


Aquaponics has helped the children change their perspective. It makes them become more passionate about the earth. You can create smarter people through hands on learning. You can create healthier people because they are engaged with all of the produce. And it can change Charlotte, and the world.