Posted by OrganicAuthority RSS feed on October 1, 2015
We’ve heard of urban farms and rooftop farms, but the next big thing in super-local farming concerns fish farms: a rooftop fish farm to be exact. Running with an idea that was first popularized in 2012 by designer Antonio Scarponi, three partners in Brooklyn have decided to make rooftop fish farms a reality in New York City.
The Idea of Rooftop Fish Farms is Spawned
Rooftop fish farm possibilities first took the Internet by storm in 2012, when the GLOBE / HEDRON design was released. The original design by Antonio Scarponi was made with a geodesic bamboo dome and was specially designed to be biodegradable and structurally sound for placement on roofs. The design was relatively self-sufficient as far as energy is concerned and was intended to cost about a much as a car, making it accessible for most families in Switzerland, where the idea was launched.
With this project, the idea was to farm on an individual scale. Each farm would be able to feed four families of four with seasonal vegetables and fish. That being said, this prototype design got people buzzing about the possibility of bigger structures and the future of urban farming, though for rooftop fish farming to truly take hold on a larger scale, we would have to wait a few more years.
Verticulture Farms Brings Aquaponics to Brooklyn
For the folks behind Verticulture Farms, the idea of rooftop farming came first and foremost from an interest in urban agriculture. Co-founder Miles Crettien says that he was originally made aware of the issue in 2009, when he heard Grace Lee Boggs speak about programs she was working on in Detroit.
“I became inspired to work towards providing healthy affordable food to diverse urban populations, says” Crettien. He moved to New York and started looking for ways to make this happen.
In New York, he teamed up with friend and co-founder Ryan Morningstar. The two had worked on an organic farm in Massachusetts together for five seasons. “I started reading a lot on the topic including The Vertical Farm by Dickens Despommier and Eco Cities Living Machines by John Todd,” says Crettien. “The concept of closed loop ecological designed food production really struck a chord with me.”
In 2012, the group of founders, by then increased to four, began meeting to discuss the development of an aquaponics company. While at first, this was more a passion project than anything else, “It soon became apparent that there was a real market need and opportunity to grow and build a viable aquaponic business in NYC,” says Crettien.
After exploring many different design options, they decided to implement an indoor vertically stacked grow bed, where they could grow a variety of plants and raise Brooklyn-born-and-bred tilapia. With this system based in aquaponics, the fish and the plants that feed them form their own ecosystem: the natural waste from the fish.....