The Door Campaign was founded in 2013 as a 501(c)3 organization. The initial mission, not unlike today, was to show inner-city youth that they can be the change they want to see in the world. The organization’s name was intended to reflect this goal of opening doorways to fields that youth may not otherwise encounter, creating avenues of education and employment.
Current projects focus on aquaponics—the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics in which farmed fish provide nutrients for plants grown in water. By introducing middle and high school students to aquaponics, The Door Campaign provides hands-on instruction in ecology, biology, and sustainability.
Students working with aquaponics learn directly a number of lessons, ranging from the anatomy of fish to the impacts of population change and the science of food production.
By establishing aquaponics facilities in the community, The Door Campaign seeks to help communities learn how to grow their own food, maintain water quality, and take care of fish. This innovative approach to social change fosters a sense of empowerment and accountability in the broader community while creating a social space for community members to come together and create a sustaining model for growth and revenue.
In the short time since its founding, The Door Campaign has grown substantially and achieved a number of major accomplishments.
-In 2014, the Door Campaign piloted its STEM Aquaponics program in the Pittsburgh Perry Traditional Academy in the city’s Perry South neighborhood. Students increased their knowledge of biology, ecology, chemistry, and sustainability through hands-on work in aquaponics.
-The Door Campaign successfully completed a community mural to raise awareness of The Door Campaign in the community. Partnering with students, local muralist Ryan Lammie created the colorful mural in Pittsburgh’s Northview Heights neighborhood.
-The organization worked with an Emmy Award–winning producer to create a short video documenting The Door Campaign and highlighting the broader benefits of STEM education and aquaponics within communities.
-The Door Campaign hosted a successful fundraiser that featured cooking demonstrations from local chefs, some of them working with basil grown through aquaponics, along with food trucks, live music, and an art auction.