The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens (FCFCG) has teamed up with Aquaponics UK and Humble by Nature, a rural education centre owned by broadcaster Kate Humble, to launch the UK’s first ever aquaponics solar greenhouse today at 10am.
The launch of this revolutionary model for sustainable local food production is part of a project exploring whether Aquaponics can be a viable option for future community food production, with the system in development aiming to produce around 250 kgs of fish a year and 30 kgs of vegetables a week.
Aquaponics is a marriage between aquaculture (the cultivation of fish and other aquatic organisms) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil in nutrient-rich water.) This efficient system means nutrient-rich fish waste feed the plants, which in turn purify the water ready to pump back into the fish tanks.
The solar greenhouse is being developed by scientists Charlie Price and Becky Bainbridge of social enterprise Aquaponics UK. Their key innovation is the development of a special solar greenhouse that will allow an extended growing season without the need for any additional heating.
The greenhouse and resource centre is based at Humble by Nature, the rural skills and smallholding school on Kate Humble’s working farm in Penalt, near Monmouth, where Tyfu Pobl (the Welsh arm of FCFCG) will help deliver a range of knowledge sharing, training and events.
Kate Humble will attend the event and launch the greenhouse, along with specially invited guests, including Alun Davies AM, Welsh Government Minister for Natural Resources and Food and Jeremy Iles, CEO of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens.
Jeremy Iles said: “We have seen a growing interest in Aquaponics over the last few years. This is a great opportunity to share expertise and knowledge on Aquaponics with communities in Wales and explore whether it can provide a genuine solution to food security across the UK.”