Aquaponics pioneers starting up a veggie garden in Berlin

ECF Containerfarm aquaponics img

It started millennia ago. The Aztects and Chinese started their own aquaponics gardens. Now, in the 21st-century, we and a Berlin start-up are combining two elements of nature again. The combination of raising fish and growing food in one eco-system.

In contrast to the Vegua, the Berlin pioneers are working on a larger scale. The company ECF, short for Efficient City Farming, has a vision that is in line with ours: Giving the people access to food grown in a sustainably way, on the basis of fish waste. However, we aim at raising the awareness regarding aquaponics on consumer level, showing people even they can contribute to it.

ECF’s goal is to sell bigger farms to companies, farmers or real estate developers. Aquaponics allows food to be grown in the center of the city. This drastically reduces the costs of conserving and transporting the goods. “And last but not least, it guarantees access to fresh products”, said CEO and founder of ECF Nicolas Leschke.

The aquaponics system consists of a fish tank and a greenhouse where vegetables are grown. In our Vegua it all is a bit smaller. A fishbowl contains one or two fish, a small planter on top provides room for +- 5 plants/herbs, growing in hydro pellets. How many exactly depends on what kind of plants you want to grow. ECF uses it on a bigger scale to grow vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and greens.

Bacteria transform the ammonium of the fish waste to nitrates which are easily absorbed by the plants. Hereby the water is cleaned by the plants and returned to the fish. Because of this closed-loop system it saves 98% of the water used in traditional agriculture. No resources get wasted.

A study by ATKearney shows that consumers attach more and more importance to where food is produced. They place greater value on locally grown or reared food than it being organic. ATKearney calls the trend “the new organic”. There are 3 main reasons for this importance of regional products. Supporting the local economy, quality, and freshness.

So ECF’s farm is for massive production, our Vegua for everyone’s own production, both completely sustainable.

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