The Mississauga Food Bank has expanded an innovative program it uses to supplement the fresh food it distributes to feed the city’s hungry.
In late 2016, the food bank launched AquaGrow Farms — an aquaponics farm housed in the organization’s warehouse that’s used to grow both fish and produce year-round.
Recently, they expanded the farm to add two more grow beds that are each capable of holding 54 heads of greens (they’re currently growing romaine lettuce and bok choy) as well as a third fish tank that holds roughly 50 tilapia plus a seed nursery.
Colin Cotton, the AquaGrow Farms supervisor, says once the expansion is at full capacity it will double the number of greens they harvest weekly from 54 to 108 and also adds another 50 or so fish into the mix, which are harvested every two months once they reach about one-and-a-half to two pounds.
It’s now capable of producing 2,500 servings of fish each year and 28,000 servings of greens.
The aquaponics farm is affordable, Nicholls noted it costs roughly $1,200 a year to operate.