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Aquaponics in the living room?

Aquaponics has long fascinated those working in sustainable agriculture. The closed loop system, which uses fish waste to fertilize plants whose roots help purify water that goes back into the tank, could provide a sustainable source of protein (fish) as well as plant nutrients (leafy greens work particularly well with the system). It also uses 90 percent less water than traditional farming.

But many startups, including several in Chicago (most notably FarmedHere, which closed its 90,000-square-foot Bedford Park facility in January), have tried to launch aquaponics ventures and failed. What are these entrepreneurs missing?

Community and data, according to Aqualogue, a recently-launched Ukrainian Village aquaponics nonprofit.

Aqualogue, which has been operating out of a small storefront on Chicago Ave. since October, is a combination aquaponics research hub, education center and community organization. They're researching best methods for growing, creating aquaponics kits suited for homes and classrooms, and will host educational workshops around the city and out of their Chicago Ave. headquarters.

In addition, they're working on an online open resource data hub, called the Aqualogger, that would allow people to closely monitor their aquaponics systems and share best practices with fellow aquaponics enthusiasts around the country. The team just launched a Kickstarter aiming to raise $20,000 to get their kits out to schools and develop Aqualogger.

Read more at Chicago Inno

Publication date: 3/20/2017



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