Rooftop Aquaponics

World’s First Commercial Rooftop Aquaponic Farm by David Thorpe

aquaponic farming in Swiss

Urban farming comes in many shapes and forms: from traditional farming, to permaculture, hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics. These new farming systems will help develop more produce in urban environments and have more residents be engaged in providing food to their families and communities. David Thorpe focuses on aquaponics, and how it has grown commercially in Switzerland. This type of farming will show how to save land, water, and provide more food to overpopulated cities and countries.

Aquaponics – aquaculture (fish farming) + hydroponics (growing plants without soil) – could furnish 12% of a person’s diet per 3m2 of roofspace, according to a prototype study. From a small unit you can harvest both fish (usually tilapia) and vegetables, while using the waste from the fish to feed the plants and the plants to clean the water for the fish.

Lots of people are interested in aquaponics – more than hydroponics for example but there are few examples and data is hard to find. Basel, Switzerland hosts the only commercial example in Europe, situated on a rooftop of LokDepot.

It’s a brainchild of the Institute of Natural Resources Sciences. The Institute focuses on biological farming, ecological engineering, integrative ecology, landscape and urban greening and has pursued 20 years of development and research into fish species and a broad array of vegetables grown under different conditions.
According to Ranka Junge of Zhaw Zurich university, speaking at the International Conference on Vertical Farming and Urban Agriculture last week, the benefits are: nutrient utilization; low water consumption; edible plant production as well as fish. But the drawbacks are that you need to know about both fish and plant production; the complex system involves a lot of expertise.

“For this reason, doing it on a commercial scale is hard,” she said. “But the advantages are no use of pesticides or antibiotics, making food local, adding greenery in the city, nearly closed nutrient cycles, reduced energy input, perfect food safety control, around a 90% reduction in water use, and that vertical farming increases efficiency.”

Roman Gaus and Andreas Graber run the world’s first commercially successful aquaponics farm at LokDepot. Costing $900,000 to build, it occupies just 26 m² and has been operating since winter 2012. It is capable of producing 5000 kg of vegetables and 500 kg of fish per year. The numbers work as follows: the main input is the fish feed which is 1 kg for ta fish harvest of 700g and between 5 and 10kg of tomatoes. 300 L of water goes in and 290L is evapotranspired to be condensed and returned (cleaned thereby) to the fish. (Fish produce ammonia and their water needs to be continually refreshed or they die: the plants do this job.) This amount of fish produces 2 L of sludge, which gives nutrients to the plants and is vermicomposted. No artificial lighting is used. In a year, it has used 20.9MWh of electricity and 32.2MWH of heat plus 763m3 of water to produce 3401kg of veg and 706 kg of fish. 10kg fish was wasted and 577kg veg wasted. So the top line is it produces 2.7 kg fish and 13.1kg veg/acre.
There is no environmental pollution and the food is organic and healthy, produced with respect to animal welfare, fresh and sustainable. In the shop, the fish sell out quickly even though the price is slightly high.
Ranka Junge has calculated that on this basis 3m² of rooftop space could feed one person 12% of their diet.
“In Basel there is 2,000,000m² of vacant rooftop space. If 5% of this rooftop space were used for aquaponics, that is 100,000m², which could feed 34,000 people or contribute 8-20% of the fresh fish and vegetable consumption in Basel,” she concludes. There are many ways in which this system could be improved, she says, such as with improved water management, building integration, climate control and energy use, but she is convinced that it is a proof-of-concept and innovative model.

Back in Basel, after completing feasibility, Roman Gaus and Andreas Graber have secured the first EUR1.0m in project funding for a new development in the Netherlands. Watch the UF De Schilde Campaign Video here. The start of production for fish and vegetables on the roof is anticipated as early as March 2016. The team has also produced a Bolt-on System to enable the seamless integration of aquaculture systems into existing (hydroponics) production models for protected crops such as vegetables, fruits or flowers.

What is Unique About Aeroponics?

Farm Urbana 2014 - Ruth Meghiddo

Aeroponics is considered a closed hydroponic system. Therefore, nutrients and water are continually recycled, preserving our natural resources and the environment. This economical growing system is suitable for home growers and commercial growers alike, and can produce a wide variety of crops in a relatively small growing space.

Aeroponics is cutting edge in the world of hydroponics. Aeroponics is a hydroponic system in which plant roots are suspended in air and intermittently soaked with a nutrient-rich, mineral based solution. Similar to hydroponic growing the nutrient solution flows or drips onto the roots of the plants and then drips down into a reservoir or collection pipe, where it is used again. Research suggests that aeroponic systems maximize oxygen availability at the root zone, thus helping to maximize plant growth.

Aeroponic systems provide consistent phytochemistry from the herb roots because growers are able to precisely control the inputs into the plant. High quality medicinal roots can fetch a premium price in certain markets. This is an exciting technological breakthrough in the world of herbal root production, because medicinal herb plants are typically damaged when roots are harvested using conventional growing techniques.

Aeroponics is also commonly used in educational facilities, theme parks, and restaurants. It can create many variations of aeroponic systems.

Food & the City: Urban Agriculture

Farm Urbana 2014 - Ruth Meghiddo

Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution

Farm Urbana 2014 - Ruth Meghiddo

When you’re standing in the midst of a supermarket, it’s hard to imagine that you’re looking at a failing industrial food system. The abundance all around you looks impressive but is really a facade. In fact, there’s just a three-day supply of food available for any given city due to complex, just-in-time international supply chains. The system is not only vulnerable, given the reality of food scares, international crises, terrorist attacks, economic upheavals, and natural disasters, but it is also environmentally unsustainable for the long term. As the cold hard facts of peak oil and peak water begin to have an impact, how will we feed a world population of seven billion and growing, most of whom are now urban dwellers?

One answer is urban agriculture. Food and the City examines alternative food systems in cities around the globe that are shortening their food chains, growing food within their city limits, and taking their “food security” into their own hands. Award-winning food journalist Jennifer Cockrall-King sought out leaders in the urban-agriculture movement and visited cities successfully dealing with “food deserts.” What she found was not just a niche concern of activists but a global movement that cuts across the private and public spheres, economic classes, and cultures.

She describes a global movement happening from London and Paris to Vancouver and New York to establish alternatives to the monolithic globally integrated supermarket model. A cadre of forward-looking, innovative people has created growing spaces in cities: on rooftops, backyards, vacant lots, along roadways, and even in “vertical farms.” Whether it’s a community public orchard supplying the needs of local residents or an urban farm that has reclaimed a derelict inner city lot to grow and sell premium market veggies to restaurant chefs, the urban food revolution is clearly underway and working.

Food and the City is an exciting, fascinating chronicle of a game-changing movement, a rebellion against the industrial food behemoth, and a reclaiming of communities to grow, distribute, and eat locally.

 

 

Food and the City by Jennifer Cockrall-King

The Future of Urban Farming

 

The Future of Urban Farming

Transcript of AhaGarden Presents Urban Farming with Tower Garden featuring FarmUrbana.com
Your Road Map to a healthy life by cultivating your own food and making a difference with the Tower Garden System!
In the past we grew fresh food which was nutritious and grown naturally, next to people’s homes.
With the industrialization of farming we grow food but we are extensively using fertilizer, GMO’s, and pesticides which depletes the nutrients from our foods.

We can make Urban Farming a Reality Today

You grow fresh and nutritious foods without pesticides and GMO.
You lower your food costs and lower your carbon footprint.
We can create an economically viable urban farming enterprise and create a more sustainable living environment
We can do this with permaculture, aquaponic, and Tower Garden aeroponic system.
Urban Farming also helps stimulate a more cohesive community environment.

A Model for Urban Farming Enterprise

Currently food is shipped across the country and even from other counties.
With Urban Farming we can grow our own fresh foods and with more nutrients, locally.
We also create local jobs and increase our food security with the advantage of consuming fresher, more nutritious produce from local farmers without the current health hazards.
Urban Farming strengthens our local economies by keeping dollars circulating within the community.

Children’s Education

Preschool education about nutrition starts by teaching our children about growing food and how to eat healthier.
With the Tower Garden system you can start to affect change today!

The Tower Garden is a smarter way to feed your family, it is better for the environment and
uses less water….only 10% compared with traditional farming.
No dirt or fertilizer, no pesticides, no insecticides.

The Tower Garden Way is a compact vertical aeroponic system invented by Tim Blank.

TO LEARN more and buy your own tower visit:
http://eco.TowerGarden.com
http://www.farmurbana.com

CONTACT: Ruth@FarmUrbana.com
Fun and Affordable, Tower Garden is the Future!

Will Allen Leading Farmer

Will Allen Leading Farmer

Will Allen Leading Farmer. Will Allen, farmer, founder and CEO of Growing Power Inc., is recognized as a preeminent practitioner of urban agriculture in America and throughout the world.

Will grew up on a small farm in Maryland, the second-youngest of six children of a sharecropper. Despite a strict rule of his father’s – no sports until all farm chores were done – he became a standout basketball player in high school and the first African-American scholarship athlete at the University of Miami. He eventually became the basketball team captain, and still holds a number of Miami Hurricanes records. Will graduated with a degree in education.

Will was drafted in both the National Basketball Association and the American Basketball Association. He played in the ABA for a year and then entered the European League, playing for Belgium.

While living in Belgium, Will reconnected with his farming roots. He observed the intensive methods used on small plots by local farmers, and began applying those methods in a garden where he grew food for his family and teammates.

Upon returning to the United States, Will began a career in corporate sales and marketing. Job opportunities brought him to Oak Creek, a suburb of Milwaukee, his wife’s hometown and site of her family farm.

Eventually, Will tired of corporate life and took over operation of the farm. In 1993, wanting a place to sell his produce, he located a vacant garden center with three-acres on Milwaukee’s north side.

As it turned out, the small property was the last tract in the city of Milwaukee still zoned for agriculture. Will realized he could not only sell food from his own farm in Oak Creek, he could grow food on-site in a neighborhood where there was little fresh food to be found.

The ultimate direction of Will’s life truly changed when young people from the neighborhood, including kids who lived in the largest low-income public housing project in Milwaukee, began to ask him for advice and assistance with growing their own vegetables. Almost overnight, Will took up the mantle of teacher and trainer, and the impromptu gathering of neighborhood children became the Youth Corps, a program that continues today. In 1995, Growing Power Inc. was born: a not-for-profit center for urban agriculture training and building community food security systems.

Will has been an innovator in methods of composting, vermicomposting (using worms to refine and fertilize compost) and aquaponics (growing fish and food plants in a closed system). These and other intensive practices result in remarkable yields of food, even in a very small area.

Today, Growing Power is involved in more than 70 projects and outreach programs in Milwaukee, across the United States and throughout the world. Will has trained and taught in the Ukraine, Macedonia and Kenya, and has plans in place to create community food centers in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Haiti. In the U.S., Growing Power has set up multiple Regional Outreach Training Centers throughout the U.S.

In 2008, Will was awarded the John D. and Katherine T. McArthur Foundation “Genius Grant” and named a McArthur Fellow – only the second farmer ever to be so honored.

Will is also a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. On Feb. 9, 2010, was one of four national spokesmen who stood on the dais with First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House to launch her “Let’s Move!” initiative to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity by 2015. In May 2010, Time magazine named Will as one of 100 World’s Most Influential People.

Despite his busy schedule as an international ambassador for urban agriculture and universal food security, Will continues to farm his own property in Oak Creek and direct operations at Growing Power, still headquartered in the original location on Silver Spring Drive in Milwaukee.

Read the whole article here

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Urban Rooftop Farming Meets Exquisite Design

Farm Urbana is an urban farming boutique enterprise that offers so much more than just rooftop gardening.

Sure, we’re experts at growing high-quality produce on top of residential buildings of any size. But what makes Farm Urbana unique is how we blend farming with design principles.

Our custom rooftop gardens yield a bounty of delicious fresh produce, and a feast for the eyes, too. We install lush, vertical gardens in artful combinations that delight tenants. The result: a unique lifestyle amenity ideal for buildings of any size.

Farm Urbana: A True “Growth” Opportunity.

We’re able to grow and cultivate nutritious produce on rooftops by using lightweight, vertical, hydroponic systems. This eco-friendly approach cuts the use of land, labor, energy, and 90% of water used in traditional gardening.

Moreover, it allows you to enjoy some pretty amazing environments with minimal upkeep, adding value and appeal to your property.

Farm Urbana is a complete solution. We offer consultation, design, installation, coaching and maintenance. We strive to make every client experience exceptional.

Contact us now for a free consultation.

 

To see video, click on on link

Rooftop Urban Farming in LA from Rick Meghiddo on Vimeo.

 

To learn more, visit our Services Page or Contact Us today. 

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Superior Yield of Tower Garden

University of Mississippi Researchers

Confirm Superior Yield of Tower Garden

P1070940Researchers at the University of Mississippi have confirmed what experienced Tower Gardeners everywhere already know: Tower Garden by Juice Plus+ yields more produce, more quickly than traditional soil-based gardening.

We asked researchers at the University of Mississippi National Center for Natural Products Research to put Tower Garden to the test by comparing the “yield” of produce grown aeroponically by Tower Garden® to the yield from the same types of plants grown in soil ­ ­– under identical growing conditions.

The researchers grew eight different vegetables and herbs – tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, squash, chard, green basil, parsley, and red kale – side-by-side, in Tower Gardens and in the soil. They planted both sets of crops on the same day, and also later harvested samples of healthy, mature crops on the same day for analysis. The total yield of each crop was calculated and compared between the field-grown plants and Tower Garden-grown plants. Read more

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Nulla consequat massa quis enim. Donec pede justo, fringilla vel, aliquet nec, vulputate eget, arcu. In enim justo, rhoncus ut, imperdiet a, venenatis vitae, justo. Nullam dictum felis eu pede mollis pretium. Integer.

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