1,100 hits on aquafarm – from idea to reality

Dear readers, we have hit 1,100 hits on aquafarm.wordpress.com today and the site is currently visited by about 10-15 people (unique visitors) a day  – this excluding the writers, of course. That is a strong signal, given that we have hardly communicated the site to anybody yet, but the word must have spread somehow virally to different people that what we are doing is kind of cool…. The metrics on the poll as well as the number of subsribers to the blog seem promising, too. Thanks everybody for listening and supporting our venture!


Productivity issues – I don’t think so!

In the about section of this blog, we frequently talk about the fact that AquaFarm aims to drive sustainability goals while also staying competitive in terms of cost and productivity. This is a claim we were making without operating our first commercial-scale AquaFarm, but the advantages of aquaponic systems were clear to us, even at pilot-stage.

Check out the following link on a commercial Hydroponic system. The video showcases a highly automated and industrialized plant. Talk about productivity…the yield is apparently 5x higher than on soil-based production methods. We think this is really ground-breaking progress! Granted, the industrialized methods of growing lettuce through conveyer belts, WIP staging, and other modern (Lean) manufacturing methods takes some mental adjusting. But then again – only if we can combine the sustainability aspects of growing healthy and save food with the ability to competite effectively in the market (without subsidies!), have we established a superior agricultural production model for the 21st century. This is what we trying to do with AquaFarm.

Please remember one thing which sets AquaFarm apart from this hydroponic video: No fertilizer! With the combination of the fish farm and the vegetable garden, we do not need any oil-based added nutrients. All nutrients are used organically within a closed-loop system, no strings attached. OK?!

Living the sustainable life in Copenhagen

On a recent visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, I learned about the sustainable lifestyles of Copenhageners. Firstly, most of them are biking around the city instead of using public transport, and cars are virtually absent. In fact, I was told, Copenhageners commute more total kilometers than they use public transport – and this year-around even in not-so-dry winters.

The Living Facade in Copenhagen

Also, I found a nice example of a verticle green facade which not only looked great but also seems to be a great tourist attraction. Called the “Living Facade”, it aims to “illustrate the potential for vertical gardens to provide urban green areas” (EU-money sponsored…) Nevertheless, I like it!

The other really nice discovery was a sign outside a sushi bar, advertising their “sustainable tuna” and “eco-salmon”…. I was intrigued about the concept at first, but got more sceptical about the true selling points when I asked the waiters about it but none of them could not tell me either why, nor specifically how this sustainable tuna is really sustainably produced….

Sustainable tuna....beware!

Lesson learned: not everywhere where sustainability is proclaimed, is sustainability inside! Some extra caution is suggested in not “sustainble-washing”  our products or diluting the true sustainable selling points of AquaFarm.
We have to back up sustainability with rigid business processes and sound reporting,  otherwise it becomes a fad.


Agriculture 2.0 – Sustainable Farming goes Wall Street

Urban farming and sustainable agriculture now definitely have arrived at Wall Street, with the upcoming Agriculture 2.0 conference in New York City. Investors and sustainable farming entrepreneurs  discuss latest developments in North America and beyond. I am really thinking about attending, but this would be short notice for us and the AquaFarm project has not yet really come off the ground but on the other hand a really great opportunity to present the project to potential investors?

Die Zukunft der Ernährung liegt nicht im Boden, sondern im skyfarming. Sagen wir doch!

Der gestrige Artikel in der Pendlerzeitung 20min wurde mir freundlicherweise von einigen Freunden weitergeleitet.

Die Möglichkeiten von urban farming, insbesondere der vertikalen Skalierung von ökologisch geschlossenen Anbausystemen sowie die Vorteile einer effizienteren Wassernutzung und dem hohen Ertragspotential, sind Vorzüge, die genauso auch bei AquaFarm genannt könnten.

 Viele weitere interessante Studien und Projektskizzen von Architekturbüros sowie auch zu bereits realisierten ökologischen Architekturprojekten finden sich auch hier. Innovative Entwicklungen werden naturgemäss Zeit brauchen, bis sie die nötige Adaption im Markt finden. Pioniere sind gefragt, sie umzusetzen.


We talked a lot about the sustainability benefits of AquaFarm, mostly in terms of its superior qualities in recycling nutrients for plant growth, the savings in water consumption and the ability to grow stuff vertically which results in a higher efficiency overall. The underlying concept of AquaFarm however is also supported by a sustainable use of energy resources and how we can recycle energy in different stages and do not impact the climate.

 The following two articles from Friendly Aquaponics, a Hawaii-based “open source initiative for aquaponic users world-wide”. The first article presents several arguments of Aquaponics and their superior usage of energy against other food production methods, both organic and traditional. The second article talks about how biogas offers interesting opportunities in recycling energy present in the waste products of food  and what advantages it offers over other renewable energy sources like PV (mostly because of ROI and cost, biogas seem to be a very effective technology).

Two interesting reads on a concept that 100% supports AquaFarm  – clean, healthy food, with positive impact on the climate.

Mit nachhaltiger Fischerei wettbewerbsfähig bleiben

Nicht immer scheint sich Nachhaltigkeit auch in der bottom line der jeweiligen Produzenten zu lohnen. Im Bereich MSC Labelling für nachhaltige Fischerei könnten nun aber durch die Überfischung der Meere sowieso bald keine anderen Möglichkeiten mehr bestehen, als nur noch auf nachhaltige Fischerei zu setzen. Ansosten laufen die Anbieter Gefahr, entweder von der Nachfrageseite umzustellen zu müssen oder aber bald sowieso kein Angebot mehr bieten zu können.  Weiter… oder auch hier…