Raised In Chicago: West Side Urban Farm Reaps Aquaponics Harvest

Metro Farms from Medill Reports on Vimeo.

A greenhouse that sustains crops of lettuce, kale and about a dozen herbs, in addition to Rocky Mountain and American Blue tilapia that live in six 800-gallon tanks

By H. Will Racke
Medill Reports
May 4, 2016


Metro Farms sends a weekly harvest to farmers markets, local food co-ops, and specialty grocery stores such as Angelo Caputo’s Fresh Markets.

It’s all part of what Kant calls a “biological machine,” and it stands as a testament to the potential of aquaponics to become a major part of urban agriculture in Chicago and other cities with unused industrial or commercial space.

Aquaponics farming, in particular, can be done by commercially-focused, large-scale growers like Metro Farms, or backyard garden enthusiasts like Dave Johnson of Villa Park.

Johnson, whose professional background is in construction, had no experience with gardening or farming aside from the few herbs he grew on a window sill. One night, while eating Tilapia for dinner, Johnson wondered if he could raise his own, since they are among the most commonly farmed fish.

Soon he was looking up aquaponics farming techniques on hobby websites and watching tutorials on YouTube. His garage became a greenhouse, complete with a 200-gallon fish environment consisting of a breeding tank and two nursery tanks.

Read the complete article here.

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