Tom Webster explains how he is spearheading aquaponic farming in the UK

"I co-founded GrowUp Urban Farms with my business partner Kate Hofman in May 2013. Our vision is to contribute to a more sustainable food system using aquaponics – a combination of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in a nutrient rich solution other than soil). The farming methods we have developed enable us to produce a year-round harvest of fresh fish, leafy salad crops and herbs, in an energy-efficient controlled environment.

"We started out by creating the GrowUp box, a demonstration system that we built in a shipping container at London Bridge, then, in 2015, we moved to Unit 84, at London Industrial Park in Beckton, and built our first farm.

"The farm is essentially comprised of two separate systems. The first is a recirculating aquaculture system where water passes through a series of fish tanks, into a filtration system, and then back to the tanks. That water continually moves round and round between the tanks and the filters. At Unit 84 we have 12 tanks in the system, each containing roughly 400 Tilapia fish. It takes around six months to grow them from the fingerlings that we buy in. All our adult fish go to the Thai restaurant chain Rosa's. We've worked with them for years and it's a great restaurant run by great people. Tilapia is a very mild-flavoured fish, similar to cod. It takes on flavours really well, so it's well suited to Asian cuisine. It's also a very good source of protein and makes a great replacement for chicken."

Read the full story at The Week Portfolio (Tom Webster)

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