The first commercial aquaponics farm offering fish and vegetables has been opened in Berlin, producing organic products for eco-conscious Berliners.
Farmers using this method combine conventional aquaculture – raising fish in tanks – with hydroponics, which involves cultivating plants with special nutrients on rock wool — a symbiotic system called aquaponics, DW reported.
Developers of this system are convinced that aquaponics could be a tool to make the megacities of tomorrow more sustainable, since it is estimated that by 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities, which are responsible for 75 per cent of the world’s energy consumption as well as for 70 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
This farming method was developed by Christian Echternacht and Nicolas Leschke, who founded their startup Ecofriendly Farmsystems and collected some EUR 1.5 million to set up a farm in Berlin three years ago. Their effort could revolutionize food production in cities, following a “just-in-time” model that produces food when it is needed.
Leschke and his team are working on a low-cost, lightweight system version of the system for developing countries to avoid the use of electricity.
These developers consider that even when they are only offering lifestyle products for city-dwellers at present, it would be better to put up such farms in the countryside, as it could be possible to set up bigger systems, and thus the price per square meter to build such a farm would be cheaper.
Leschke and Echternacht believe that aquaponics systems – especially the bigger and cheaper versions – could not only help put an end to overfishing and excessive use of pesticides, they could contribute to food security globally.