A single tree blossoms thousands of times, part of a beautiful biology that continues the species. Yet, of those thousands of blossoms, we do not consider those that do not become another tree wasteful. Instead, they are beautiful, and useful. Those that don’t lead to another tree start to decompose and begin a cycle of nourishment where the biological building blocks of the blossom are fed back into the parent tree. The circle of life.
This illustration is used repeatedly in Cradle to Cradleby William McDonough and Michael Braungart, a book that describes in a growing wave of persuasion the need for what’s known as a circular economy.
Vertical farming strives towards this type of system, and one farm in particular has been recognized for embodying this ideology. Many of you know AeroFarms for recently raising millions in funding to build the worlds largest vertical aeroponic farm in Newark. AeroFarms is a finalist for the World Economic Forum (WEF) Ecolab Award for Circular Economy Enterprise. Whether or not they win the award, this is an honor for sure.
Going back through materials you saved over the past year is a bit of a New Year’s chore. But sometimes, you strike gold. Here is a great news story on Chicago’s first certified aquaponics producer.
Some things to note:
This project was associated with The Plant, an operation the Urban Vertical Project loves to cover.
Greens and Gills was taking advantage of all available space in their operation by growing on multiple levels – hinting at the potential coming fusion of aquaponics and vertical farming.
It took 2 whole years of research and $150,000 to get the project underway.
The business has since been put up for sale. While we have seen aquaponics work extremely well on a small scale and the sustainability potential for growing like this is huge, it does seem to reinforce the hypothesis that commercial aquaponic farms aren’t quite ready. They seem to last for even less time than commercial vertical hydroponic/aeroponic operations. That being said, if you know of a few large commercial aquaponics producers that have been around for more than 3 years, let me know in the comments!