Enter the World of Aquaponics with GrowUp Urban Farm
by Hanna Pumfrey
Now this is really exciting… yes, I’m a geek and I find this techy stuff super interesting but this really IS exciting. As our planets population continues to explode and become increasingly urbanised there is an ever more pressing need to find new ways of feeding people. Until recently governments answer to this has been pesticides, pesticides and MORE pesticides. The result, a huge loss of natural habitats and the associated impact on biodiversity and soil degradation such as erosion, depletion and pollution of natural resources and climate changes… to name just a few examples of this problem area.
But the tide may be changing. The guys at GrowUp are experimenting with new and ingenious ways to grow our food without destroying our planet. GrowUp’s mission is to lower the environmental impact of agriculture by building and operating farms that take unused urban space and use it to grow produce. They are fundamentally changing the way food is grown and distributed in cities to reconnect city dwellers with the story of food from farm to fork.
Based in an industrial warehouse in Beckton, apocalyptically named ‘Unit 84’, the farm combines two well established farming practices; aquaculture (farming fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in a nutrient solution without soil) in a recirculating system. The farm operates over 6,000 square feet of growing space and produces more than 20,000kg of sustainable salads and herbs (enough for 200,000 salad bags) and 4,000kg of fish each year.
Definitely not one we would advise trying at home though, a friend of friend recently devised their own hydroponics system for their pet fish. A brave attempt but needless to say it ended in tragedy. Yes, fish did die in the making of that experiment so please don’t try this at home!
‘The Future of Food is urban agriculture’ say’s GrowUp founder Tom Webster. We’re heading over to GrowUp in a few weeks and hope to chat with Tom and his team and hear what’s next for GrowUp. Do they have plans to scale this operation? CAN GrowUp be scaled? Is this method of agriculture a viable one for creating sustainable food supply for our population? These are some of the questions we’ll be putting to the GrowUp team, so stay tuned!
Find out more about Growup and where you can purchase their produce on their website.