Aquaponic, Green Bridge Growers support young people on the autistic spectrum

Green Bridge Growers from Facebook

Green Bridge Growers from Facebook

Green Bridge Growers, South Bend,Indiana, Chris Tidmarsh – is an aquaponic farming operation and employs people on the autism spectrum.

Autism Daily Newscast previously reported on this story here.

Chris Tidmarsh has Aspergers Syndrome and earned a triple degree from Hope College in Chemistry, Environmental Studies, and French.

However even with all of the qualifications he found it difficult to find a job after college.

“I didn’t have a job in college, but I did have one briefly after I got out of college. Unfortunately, though, I struggled to keep my job, and I didn’t last very long. I think that’s a common problem for people with autism and Asperger’s: keeping employment over the long term due to social skills issues and other problems.”

He and his mother, Jan Pilarski, came up with the business plan of being able to help other young adults with autism in similar situations.

Chris explains the technology behind aquaponics

“Aquaponics uses fish and vegetables together in a closed-loop system. We have fish growing in one tank, and the waste water from that tank is filtered and fertilizes our plants. The plants then clean the water for the fish. Aquaponics uses 90% less water than conventional farming, and also reduces harvest time by one-third. Also, since the plants are being grown in a greenhouse or hoop house, we’re able to grow crops all year round.”

TTheir Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign last November and December raised more than twice the $15,000 goal.

Jan Pilarski was awarded the Klau Family Greatest Social Impact Prize at the University of Notre Dame’s McCloskey Business Plan Competition.

The original article by Art McCormick can be read here