Aquaponic Farm Build in Brooklyn: Grow Brownsville

“Grow Brownsville" is a crowdfunding campaign aimed at helping Universe City NYC  (a Brooklyn  start-up) Design and Build a Commercial Size Vertical Tower Aquaponic Farm.

"Grow Brownsville " seeks an initial $250,000 to begin to build the necessary foundation we need to properly build our farm.  The Money Raised will be used for the following:

1)Building a new aquaponic system within 2500 sq ft space.

2) Implent BioSecurity : installing Spray Foam Insulation, insulating walls, installing all new Sheetrock,  Installing new HVAC with Temperature Control, Humidity Control, Radiant Heat, Installing more Grow lights

3) install additional electrical work and plumbing work needed for the build our farm. 

3)Adding cold and dry storage walk-in space

4)Creating a sorting, washing, and packing station within this facility with a commercial kitchen.

5) continuing to provide worker paid stipends and buy necessary tools, ramps, and ppe equipment.

6) working to develop new educational curriculums
Universe City NYC is an Aquaponic Farm, Food Hub and Business Incubator located in the Industrial Business Zone of East New York. Universe City founders, members and stakeholders work together creating a Culture of Solidarity to build our Own Food Sovereign City founded Circular Economic principles. 

Universe City NYC and it’s community of Entrepreneurs, Interns and Volunteers are distributing nearly 120,000 pounds of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables  per week to East Brooklyn. 

Universe City NYC is located at 234 Glenmore Ave, within the Industrial Business Zone of East New York.


Universe City NYC has already made it possible for several new businesses to work out of our campus — thus creating several new careers for many local residents. 

Grow Brownsville is our crowdfunding campaign raising funds to build our Aquaponic Vertical Tower Farm.  We have partnered with Yemi Amu Director and founder of Oko Farms to design the Aquaponic System that will be located in Universe City NYC. Lead Universe City Farmer, Alexis Mena will work with the Brooklyn Builders Collective a worker owned cooperative (additionally located within the Universe City NYC Campus) to complete farm phase one: 6 towers. Each tower can grow 180 heads of lettuce every 40 day! Or 9 heads of cabbage every 3 months! 846 turnips every 6 weeks!

Our farm currently has 4 x 400gallon tanks where we partner with Salvation & Praise Seafood to breed and farm Catfish. Together creating one symbiotic system.


Universe City is working to build our Own Food Sovereign City!! Food sovereignty is a movement growing from the bottom up; it goes well beyond ensuring that people have enough food to meet their physical needs. Food Sovereignty asserts that People Must Reclaim their Power in the Food System.


It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. 

Food Distribution for East Brooklyn movedto Universe City July 1st— From Collective Fare in Brownsville. Through COVID from March - June in collaboration with several other local community organizations and mutual aid groups efforts reached 450,000lbs of Food before moving to Our Campus. 

Through the month of July Universe City NYC distributed Nearly 140,000 lbs of Fresh food every week to all of East Brooklyn andwe don’t plan on stopping. Next month increasing our capacity an additional 600 boxes per week!

Imagine - distributing over 7000 lbs of Watermelon every week?! Roughly 14,000 lbs of Potato’s  Every Week  Eggplant, Tomatoes, Kale, Carrots, Peppers, Zucchini, Squash, Lettuce, Onions, Beats, Cucumbers and More! 


Through our partnerships we are also working to contribute to the Free Fridge Network of NYC Fridges— together working in solidarity to keep our communities fed

Using food as a form of protest has long and storied roots in black communities, and urban farming and the Brownsville free fridge are acts of resistance to the food apartheid that leaves many BIPOC (black, indigenous, and people of color) neighborhoods without access to fresh, healthy food. Black people have experienced vastly disproportionate COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths to white people, so the Brownsville free fridge hopes to draw attention to the racist city-planning that has affected the health of our  communities as well. It’s the quality of our air, how close we are to landfills, Alexis Mena said, so why should they trust the government to properly feed us?

In East New York and Brownsville there is a stronger need than ever for Accessible Education to learn about the benefits of healthy living and clean eating.  Which is why we are dedicated to continuing to create educational curriculums . 

Through local partnership Universe City NYC now have 6 interns working with us through the summer. 

We are non-stop exploring how to make technological advancements to learn how to bring sustainability to our community. 

Universe City NYC is also Home to "We Are Earth Farms," the first "GrowBox" in the Borough. These portable shipping containers are fully operational turn- key grow rooms, that prove fixed grow spaces are efficient and NECESSARY.

Universe City NYC is creating a network of farmers gardeners who are about to economically, socially, and spiritually work with the land to be stewards of the land and to teach how to be able to provide for yourself, your family and your community. 

Universe City NYC also is working with 4th Generation Commercial Lighting Manufacturing Business, "Legion Lighting" to produce a-grow-cultural LED lighting products that are sleek in design and produce efficient energy thus increasing potential crop yields. These Lights will also be installed on our vertical grow towers. 


For too long as a society we have neglected ourselves by depending  upon mass/commercial agricultural to feed ourselves. We need to be aware that we need to know who our local farmers are, and know how to properly care for ourselves, and how to properly provide our bodies with the nutrients it needs in order to bring positive change around environmental, spiritual and social well-being four ourselves. Because ultimately if people know better we are able to want better.

This project is the result of efforts of local artists, entrepreneurs, and residents coming together to think and act on new ideas on how to liberate their community and themselves from cycles of violence, poverty, and displacement.


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Brittany Markowitz 
Brooklyn, NY
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