Something fishy is going on in an old warehouse near Chicago. A new kind of farm is producing organic vegetables year-round – with the help of some finned friends.

PhotoAn aquaponic farm grows plants and fish together. Leafy greens like lettuce and kale are grown in water instead of soil. Water then circulates through the system – carrying nutrient-rich fish droppings that fertilize the plants. In turn, the plants filter and clean the water, which is returned to the fish tanks.

The system reuses 98 percent of its water and does not need chemical fertilizers or pesticides, so it eliminates some of the impacts of modern agriculture.

Plus, CEO Mark Thomann of the company “Farmed-Here” says aquaculture can be done vertically – his vegetable beds are stacked 20 feet high – so the technique can produce a lot of food indoors, and be implemented almost anywhere.

Thomann: “We harvest our produce, and within 24 hours it can be purchased off the shelves of a local store. In contrast to a head of lettuce that’s been on a truck for days and may be two weeks old.”

As a closed system, indoor aquaculture is relatively immune to drought or storms. So as the climate warms, it may become an important source of food in the future.


Reporting credits: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photos source: FarmedHere website. Farmed Here vertical garden (video screenshot).

More Resources
The Farming Technique That Could Revolutionize the Way We Eat
Aquaponics — Farming For Change
Farmed Here website

Erika Street Hopman is co-founder of ChavoBart Digital Media, an audio and video production firm with a focus on scientific and environmental media. ChavoBart Digital Media contributes original reporting,...