Thursday, 15 June 2017

Montreal's Zero Waste Urban Rooftop Greenhouses

These rooftop greenhouses harness the lost heat the tops of the buildings resulting in energy usage that is half of a traditional greenhouse.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Urban Organics Mammoth 87,000 sq ft Indoor Aquaponics Farm

Urban Organics just opened a new 87,000-square-foot indoor aquaponics farm in St. Paul, Minn. As one of the largest commercial aquaponics facilities in the world, the urban farm has the capacity to grow 275,000 pounds of fish and 475,000 pounds of organic produce annually. This is 50 times larger than the pilot plant at Hamm's Brewery built in 2014. A virtual tour of the pilot facility is shown below.

Currently, the farm is at 30 percent capacity for produce, and they project being at full capacity by fall. The pilot plant raises striped bass and tilapia and grows basil, kale, watercress and Swiss chard. The new facility will raise 275,00 pounds of Atlantic salmon and arctic char fish each year and about 475,000 pounds of organic greens including kale, bok choy and arugula once they hit full stride.

Read more here and here.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

The Filtration System at Ouroboros Farms

Thanks to Potent Ponics for this interview with Ken Armstrong explaining their filtration system.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Commercial Rooftop Farming in Montreal

Mohamed Hage and Lauren Rathmell are a new species of farmer. They've created a model of food delivery to address the challenges of our world's fresh food systems by building 31,000 square feet of 21st century farmland… on the roof of an old Montreal warehouse.

Original Source

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Aquaponics Explored on PBS

In this episode from 2015, Chris Hartleb, Professor, Department of Biology, UW-Stevens Point, discusses Aquaponics as a sustainable food source for the future.

Friday, 31 March 2017

UV Sterilization in Aquaponics

Aquaponics has beneficial bacteria that allow it to outperform sterile systems. Because of this, UV sterilizers are not generally used. Other negative side effects of UV sterilization include the reduction of micronutrients especially iron, boron and manganese.

"One side effect of the use of UV sterilizers is their effect on a few of the micronutrients.
Mohyuddin (1985) found that the boron and manganese contents in a nutrient solution were
reduced by more than 20% over a period of 24 h of sterilization. The most significant effect
was on iron, which was precipitated as hydrous ferric oxide. Nearly 100% of the iron was
affected." p. 100 - Hydroponic Food Production

Typical UV Disinfection System used in Aquaculture
Here is a collection of studies on the subject:

The effects of nutrient solution sterilization on the growth and yield of hydroponically grown lettuce.
Abstract: Two methods of removing bacteria from hydroponic nutrient solution [ultraviolet (UV) radiation and submicronic filter] were evaluated for efficiency and for their effects on lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) production. Both methods were effective in removing bacteria; but, at high intensity, the ultraviolet sterilizer significantly inhibited the production of plants grown in the treated solution. Bacterial removal by lower intensity UV or a submicronic filter seemed to promote plant growth slightly, but showed no consistent, statistically significant effect.

Integrated Multi-Trophic Recirculating Aquaculture System for Nile Tilapia (Oreochlomis niloticus)
Abstract: Three densities of the sex-reversed male Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (20, 25, 50 fish/m3) were cultivated in an integrated multi-trophic recirculating aquaculture system (IMRAS) that involves the ecological relationship between several living organisms, i.e., phytoplankton, zooplankton, and aquatic plants. The results indicated that, by providing proper interdependency between various species of living organisms, the concentrations of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphate in the system were maintained below dangerous levels for Nile tilapia throughout the cultivation period. The highest wet weight productivity of Nile tilapia of 11 ± 1 kg was achieved at a fish density of 50 fish/m3. The aquatic plants in the treatment tank could effectively uptake the unwanted nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) compounds with the highest removal efficiencies of 9.52% and 11.4%, respectively. The uptake rates of nitrogen and phosphorus by aquatic plants could be ranked from high to low as: Egeria densa > Ceratophyllum demersum > Vallisneria spiralis and Vallisneria americana > Hygrophila difformis. The remaining N was further degraded through nitrification process, whereas the remaining P could well precipitate in the soil sediment in the treatment tank.

Influence of UV Treatment on the Food Safety Status of a Model Aquaponic System
Abstract: Few microbial studies in aquaponics, a growing trend in food production, have been conducted to determine food safety status. The aim of this study was to determine the food safety status and the effectiveness of ultraviolet treatment (15 W, luminous flux of 900 lm) as a food safety intervention in reducing the microbial loads of the water system in a model aquaponic unit growing lettuce, basil, and barramundi (Australian Sea Bass). Sweet basil, bibb lettuce, water samples, and fish swabs were collected throughout the 118-day production period, and microbial analysis was conducted in triplicate for the presence of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and the prevalence of aerobic plate counts (APC), coliforms, and fecal coliforms in these systems. Absence of foodborne pathogens was confirmed using ELISA technology and enumeration through petrifilms (coliform/E. coli). A significant increase was observed in aerobic plate counts over the trial period (1 to 3 log10 CFU·mL−1) in the presence and absence of UV (p > 0.05). Ultraviolet treatment did not significantly reduce the APC or coliform counts when compared to the control system samples. Future work should focus on improving the unit design, the evaluation of bio-solid filtration, and other food safety interventions.

Abstract: Aquaponics is an integrated production system where plants grow in a soil-less medium of aquaculture waste. This kind of production is seen as favourable nowadays since waste utilization could increase farm productivity and reduce environmental impacts. This research compared the microbiological quality of aquaponic water under ultraviolet (UV) sterilization and its compliance to international directives on irrigation water uses. An assessment of crop productivity was also carried out to outline differences in productive traits of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L. ‘Verde degli Ortolani’) grown in sterilized and non-sterilized aquaponic systems against a hydroponics floating system supplied with a nutrient solution of 1.6 dS cm-1. Total coliforms under UV disinfection showed counts well below 1 CFU ml-1 and a reduction in microbial loads higher than 99%. Furthermore no Escherichia coli were found in both sterilized and non-sterilized aquaponic systems. No significant differences were recorded for productive traits of lettuce (yield, mean shoot weight, shoot and root dry biomass, leaf area, specific leaf dry weight), suggesting that aquaponics is a valid method to produce vegetables with high hygienic standards.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Beneficial Microbes in Aquaponics

Edit: This article was edited to remove the inaccurate representation of hydroponics as 'sterile'

Even though hydroponic systems use scientifically optimized man-made nutrient solutions, Nick Savidov makes the claim that aquaponic plants are healthier, and more nutrient rich than those from hydroponic production. He says this is possibly because of the complex microbial communities present in aquaponics stimulate root growth and nutrient uptake in ways we still do not fully understand.

A new paper published by the Aquaponics Association delves a bit deeper into this subject. These microorganisms are responsible for nutrient-delivery, disease-suppression, and environmental regulation. The positive results include healthier roots, less spoilage, and more nutritious produce.

Root mass comparison (Nick Savidov 2004)

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Plant Nutrition Videos

Colorado State University
This lecture is a good overview of the macro and micro nutrients plants need and their specific functions.

Melbourne Polytechnic
This lecture includes identification of nutrient deficiencies.

For an overview of managing plant nutrition in Aquaponics, click here ...

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Recirculating Aquaculture is the solution to hunger and climate change

Imagine a world where polluting, resource-intensive cow, pig, and chicken farms are replaced with giant tanks of fast-growing salmon. It might be a strange view of agriculture, but a potential huge shift in how we feed the planet. Read more ...

Growing fish is much more efficient than growing cows, pigs, or chickens.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Aquaponics in PEI

Summerside Makerspace is a shared workspace that is using aquaponics in Summerside, PEI. CBC News recently took notice of this effort. (click here for CBC article). The aquaponics system helps members of the space come together to grow food hopefully for local food banks one day.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Aquaponics for Schools in Canada

SEA TO SKY AQUAPONICS was started in 2016 with the goal of bringing sustainable food production systems to schools across Canada. Their vision is to have aquaponics incorporated into the school curriculum.

Click here for more ...

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Integrated Pest Management App for iPhone and Android

Pocket IPM Greenhouse Scout Mobile App

The Greenhouse Scout mobile app has been designed to help growers manage greenhouse insect pests with:
  1. an easily accessible summary of information on biocontrol of common greenhouse insects,
  2. an interactive interface for collecting scouting data and recording product applications, and
  3. record keeping with a graphical presentation of scouting data.

Created by the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program at Cornell University and GORGES Custom Software Development, Ithaca NY.

Find it at your favorite app store:
Greenhouse Scout on the App Store on iTunes

Greenhouse Scout—Android Apps on Google Play

Cornell's website (original source)

For more information contact:
Betsy Lamb,

Elizabeth Lamb, ornamental IPM coordinator at NYS IPM Program, worked with GORGES Inc. to develop the Greenhouse Scout app.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Greenhouse and Pest Management Seminar

Greenhouse Heating and Lighting and Integrated Pest Management from Noa Fisheries.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Aquaponics in Alberta

A couple of Alberta Aquaponics farms were featured recently in the Calgary Herald.

Aqua Terra Farms - Okotoks


Deepwater Farms - Calgary

Paul Shumlich of Deepwater Farms