A good combination
The combination of fish farming and soil-less produce cultivation makes for a more sustainable operation. Waste from the fish provides fertilizer for the plants, the plants help purify the water, and then the water can be recycled back to the fish.
Technology at work
Minneapolis-based Pentair asked to design Urban Organics’ aquaponics system after hearing about the project in its earliest stages. The firm’s technology saves resources through efficient water circulation and an automated feeding system for the fish.
The aquaponics system uses 2% of the water of conventional agriculture, according to Urban Organics co-founder Fred Haberman.
Easy being green
Due to current food trends and Lund’s needs, Urban Organics grows kale, Swiss chard and cilantro.
“Two years, three years ago, if you would have asked us what produce [we would grow] we probably would have said basil,” said Haberman.
Urban Organics worked hard to make sure its greens would be certified organic.
“The nice thing is, with our system, we can grow a tier, change out a tier, pretty quickly. So if there’s something that’s affecting a crop in southern California or wherever it is … we could shift it,” said Haberman.
Supply and demand
Many retailers have expressed interest in carrying Urban Organics’ products, but so far the organization produces just enough to sell a small amount in each of Lund’s 25 stores.
Urban Organics plans to expand beyond its current 8,500 square feet, and hopes to eventually make use of the entire 55,000-square-foot building.
“We have the equipment and we’re under construction right now to provide equipment and begin producing for the second floor, which would double our capacity,” said Haberman.
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