Pentair is closing Urban Organics, a pioneering aquaponics venture that in six years had become a darling of Minnesota’s sustainable-food community.
Urban Organics raised fish and grew salad greens year-round in a closed-loop system in the former Schmidt Brewery in St. Paul.
A Pentair spokeswoman said “the realization of the business model did not meet our expectations,” but declined to explain whether the concerns were financial, operational or both.
The company notified employees last week of the decision to shut it down. The final produce will be harvested this week and the last fish will be removed, killed and sold by late next week, a Pentair spokeswoman said.
The news shocked the Twin Cities food community. Tracy Singleton, owner of Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis, bought winter salad greens for her restaurant from Urban Organics.
“For us, it’s a disappointment. We don’t know why it is closing,” Singleton said. “It just seems like yesterday we catered their grand opening. Everyone was so excited about the potential to scale this supply. It fit our standards and we felt this was a good addition to our local food shed.”