(CNN) — An old meatpacking plant on Chicago’s South Side is being transformed into an eco farm, which its founders says will produce food sustainably, while creating zero waste.
American entrepreneur John Edel is the founder of “The Plant,” a vertical-farm initiative that he hopes will show people the ease of adapting to green food production in urban living environments.
A vertical farm is an urban agriculture concept whereby food is grown in and on top of buildings in city areas. In order for this process to work, urban farmers use a variety of techniques, including hydroponics — cultivating plants in water — and aquaponics, which uses by-products from fish farming to assist hydroponic growth
With the world’s population surpassing seven billion people and the rapid pace of urbanization, finding space to grow food is becoming an increasing challenge — one that Edel and his team of volunteers at The…
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Re-purposing an old meatpacking factory as a zero-waste farm seems pretty ironic. But John Edel has bigger plans than just an eco farm for The Plant, a vertical farm and food business operation opening soon in Chicago. He hopes to “show people the ease of adapting to green food production in urban living environments,” including utilizing hydroponics and aquaponics (CNN). Fantastic concept, John!
(image: The Plant)
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What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a method of growing plants by placing their roots directly into water. Then adding fish to that water. Aquaponic growing takes advantage of one of the basic balances found in nature.
The most well known example of this balance in nature is the relationship between us and trees. We breath in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide whereas trees ‘breath in’ carbon dioxide and ‘breath out’ oxygen. Cool, huh?
Aquaponics takes advantage of the fact that the presence of fish produces minerals, algae, nitrates, and ammonia in the water. Just what plants need most! And in turn, the plants act as a natural filter for the fish. A true win/win for all parties.
So, how does this relate to growing vegetables this way? The answer is that before, when vegetables were grown in water only, they tended to all taste like water. It turns out that the veggies get their unigue tastes from the minerals, algae, nitrates, and ammonia left in the water by the fish.
I have read that by using this method, you can grow 10 times the plants in half the time of traditional growing. That means a whole lot more veggies in less time-an important factor in our present economy. Source
1. Complex biological diversity integrating sunlight, fish, plants and earthworms with ecological niches for beneficial microbial activity, the heart of the aquaponic foodweb.
2. Nutrient cycling occurs through biological water filtration that transforms waste nutrients from fish and converts it into a usable form for plant uptake.Red wiggler earthworms metabolize foodscraps and plant matter, producing fertile, vermicompost that suppresses disease in the plant trough and fish pond. Duckweed and algea use the remaining nitrogen in the fish wastewater and convert it into a protein-rich plant food for the Tilapia fish.
3. People are a key species in the ‘total aquaponic ecosystem‘. We contribute the waste products of human ecologies, such as foodscraps or greywater, and our caring energy. The aquaponic products of fish, organic vegetables, ornamental plants, duckweed, earthworms, vermicompost, plus new knowledge and skills, generate income which supports a local economy within an urban greenhouse foodweb.
1. IT WORKS – Aquaponics has been PROVEN to grow more food faster. It’s also organically grown without the use of pesticides and you can plant seeds that are free of genetic modification.
2. SAVE MONEY – Once you see the quality of the system you can build, there’s no chance you’ll want to spend thousands more for a “ready-made” aquaponics kit. You’ll also save money year to year by growing and harvesting your own food. If you enjoy canning, you can save your harvest for years and build up your food storage for emergencies.
3. GO GREEN – Aquaponics is absolutely safe and friendly for the environment as long as you obey your local laws regarding the care and disposal of fish. You can even setup a solar panel or wind turbine to generate the electricity needed.
4. FUN PROJECT – Aquaponics is an excellent do-it-yourself project that is fun to build and run. Growing your own food has never been easier and can be fun for the whole family.
5. EDUCATIONAL – Aquaponics is based on ecosystems found in nature. Classrooms all over the world are building these systems to show and demonstrate how ecosystems work and how we can keep all things natural in balance within our environment.
6. WORRY FREE GUARANTEE – Our promise is simple. If you aren’t happy with the product simply email us and we will give you a prompt refund with no questions asked.