UAB Student, Iraq Vet Hopes to Help Feed Black Belt with Aquaponics

 ========= Old Image Removed =========Array
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
            [0] => 2015/12/IMG_6341.JPG.jpeg

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:1920;s:6:"height";i:1440;s:4:"file";s:25:"2015/12/IMG_6341.JPG.jpeg";s:5:"sizes";a:13:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-336x252.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:252;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:5:"large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-771x578.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:771;s:6:"height";i:578;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-140x140.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:12:"medium_large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-768x576.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:768;s:6:"height";i:576;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"1536x1536";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:27:"IMG_6341.JPG-1536x1152.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:1536;s:6:"height";i:1152;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:23:"IMG_6341.JPG-80x80.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-600x338.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:338;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-600x600.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-415x311.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:415;s:6:"height";i:311;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-353x265.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:353;s:6:"height";i:265;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:28:"ab-block-post-grid-landscape";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-600x400.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:400;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:25:"ab-block-post-grid-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-600x600.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:25:"IMG_6341.JPG-125x125.jpeg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:0:"";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:0:"";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}

    [_media_credit] => Array
            [0] => Dan Carsen

    [_navis_media_credit_org] => Array
            [0] =>  WBHM

    [_navis_media_can_distribute] => Array
            [0] => 

    [_imagify_optimization_level] => Array
            [0] => 1

    [_imagify_data] => Array
            [0] => a:2:{s:5:"stats";a:3:{s:13:"original_size";i:2995230;s:14:"optimized_size";i:465042;s:7:"percent";d:84.469999999999999;}s:5:"sizes";a:10:{s:4:"full";a:5:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:8:"file_url";s:53:"";s:13:"original_size";i:2995230;s:14:"optimized_size";i:465042;s:7:"percent";d:84.469999999999999;}s:9:"thumbnail";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:6:"medium";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:5:"large";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:2:{s:7:"success";b:0;s:5:"error";s:77:"WELL DONE. This image is already compressed, no further compression required.";}}}

    [_imagify_status] => Array
            [0] => success


Ramon Jeter was raised by a single mother on the west side of Birmingham. Right out of Ramsay High School he joined the Navy. He eventually served as a field medic in Iraq. Now the married new father is studying public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and he’s been accepted to Clinton Global Initiative University for his ambitious “Home Town Grown” proposal to fight food insecurity and poverty in Alabama’s Black Belt. He plans to do it through aquaponics. WBHM’s Dan Carsen speaks with Jeter, who says his professor Henna Budhwani inspires him and credits his motivation to his mom.

Listen above. Key excerpts are below.


He Gets Some Of It From His Mother

“Her pet peeve — she would always say, ‘I don’t like to see anyone hungry,’ so when I was a kid, when she’d pack my lunch, she would always pack an extra sandwich, chips, and soda just in case someone there didn’t have food. So I guess it’s something that’s always been in me.”

Overwhelming Even For A Former War Medic

“It’s still surreal … I … I, uhm … I still can’t take it all in.” (Listen from 1:25.)

The Point Of It All

“The main goal is to help reduce poverty, some of the food insecurities, and then from there … bring in some dietitians or nurses from the area or the schools and show the community how to prepare healthy foods with these crops and the fish.”

Two Potential Benefits

“You’ll be able to grow tomatoes in the middle of December or January … [and have] produce warehouses built, bring in different types restaurants [and] grocery stores, build their economy. And from there, who knows?”

Thinking Long Term

“As far as I can see, yes, this seems like it’s going to be my life’s work.”


Gulf States rank at the bottom for climate-adapted housing. Organizers want to change that.

As natural disasters and extreme weather become more frequent in the Gulf South, a new report hopes to be a road map to providing more climate-adapted housing.

How Dr. Emily Fortney is using her clinical psychology work to help pregnant people

Suicide is a leading cause of death in women, and mood and anxiety disorders make perinatal risks more complicated. Dr. Fortney’s work is focused on this issue.

Regions Bank to refund $141M for illegal overdraft fees

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that between 2018 and 2021, Regions was charging overdraft fees on some ATM withdrawals as well as some debit card purchases, even after the bank told the customers they had enough funds to cover the transactions.

Jackson’s water crisis put new attention on its longstanding lead contamination issue

Jackson’s water issues echo infrastructure struggles across the Gulf South, resulting in nearly 1,800 lawsuits over the past year and attention from the EPA.

Birmingham councilors allege promises broken but city still renews Via contract

Under the contract, the city will pay the Via ridesharing service up to $2.64 million per year to provide transit services.

Alabama prisoners refusing to work in 2nd day of protest

Prisoners including those who provide food, laundry and janitorial services refused to show up for work at major state prisons, leaving staff scrambling to keep the facilities running.

More Economy Coverage