The Mississauga Food Bank's new aquaponic farm will help the organization provide clients with fresh fish and vegetables
Canada’s first “aquaponic food bank farm” has opened up at the Mississauga Food Bank in Mississauga, Ont.
What does this mean? Aquaponics combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water and without soil) together in an integrated system.
The Mississauga Food Bank unveiled this new system in November, offering clients access to fish and vegetables. The food bank’s executive director Chris Hatch explained in a CBC.ca article that they couldn’t get enough fresh produce for the food bank clients, which is what drove them to look at aquaponics.
The farm will produce about 40 heads of lettuce a week, and fish will be harvested every six months, which will produce about 57 kilograms of fish every year. Hatch says this is equal to approximately 10,000 servings of fish and lettuce.
Operating as a closed system, the farm’s fish are fed high-quality food and the waste goes into filtration tanks; the waste then breaks down and releases nutrients for plant growth. Water goes to the plant beds where the roots are hanging in the water, and since there’s no soil, the plants take the nutrients they need and the cleaner water goes back to the fish tanks.
The aquaponic farm project has been in the works for three years, with construction beginning in August 2016 and the growing starting in late September.