Fish Farming in Urban Abandoned Factories By Chef Katie Nicholas

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This weekend I was eating dinner with some family friends and one of them mentioned this group of farmers that have built an “aquapod” in an empty warehouse to show the importance of growing organic food and producing sustainable food. It sounded interesting to me so I checked it out. Sweet Water Organics, located in southeastern Wisconsin has bought a block of industrial warehouses that haven’t been used in years and is converting them into self-sustaining eco-systems based off of Will Allen’s aquaculture model for perch,
“This system combines fish farming with hydroponics; Fish are fed commercial meal, bacteria converts the fish waste into nutrients, which then are used by the plants that grow in the same water. The plants then purify the water as they consume the nutrients, creating a healthy environment for the fish.” (www.jsonline.com)
SWO is aiming to make perch local again with these three-tiered ecosystems. They are hoping to turn this idea into a farmer’s market scenario, selling fish, plants and grains that they produce in their aquaponic systems, putting Milwaukee on the edge of the culinary trend for local, sustainable food production. Hoping to entice others to create these systems in empty industrial warehouses, Sweet Water Organics has produced over a thousand perch and tilapia and hopes to continue to rapidly produce perch in the next few years. They also produce and sell lettuce, basil, watercress and other greens to local restaurants around the Milwaukee area. Green technology also plays a role by heating the water filtration system. Overall, I think this company is headed in the right direction and hopefully more people will notice the job they are doing and how important it is to support local farmers. Here is a video link to check out…a tour of the warehouse.  SWO Tour

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