Aquaponics Farm Turns Waste to Resources

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Sweet Water, Milwaukee, Aquaponics

Photo: Sweet Water

Urban farms are popping up in cities across the country and are becoming notable sources of food in those communities. Urban agriculture is on the rise for a number of reasons including a lack of fresh produce in certain areas, the desire to have community-based projects and increasing interest in foods grown close to home. When food is produced nearby, the waste associated with transportation is minimized, and residents can feel good about supporting local businesses.

One urban farming technique that has been catching on in recent years is aquaponics, which is a combination of aquaculture – seafood farming – and hydroponics – growing plants without soil (often in water). One of the pioneers of this method is Will Allen, the founder of Growing Power farm in Milwaukee, Wis., and a recipient of a MacArthur Genious Grant. His system allows people to raise vegetables and fish in a small space while also allowing one species to benefit from the other.

To test out this method on a larger scale, another urban farm in Milwaukee called Sweet Water acquired some former industrial space in 2008 and built their own aquaponics system, which has garnered attention over the last few years. They supply fish like perch and tilapia and vegetables like lettuce to local restaurants, health food stores and residents. Earth911 spoke with James Godsil, one of Sweet Water’s founders, to find out how exactly aquaponics works, how it can eliminate waste and how it can grow communities. Keep reading to see the three main ways an urban farm like Sweet Water can reinvent wastes we don’t often think about.


Continue Reading: Eliminating Agricultural Waste

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