The future of agriculture is thought to lie in aquaponics. Aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics and aquaculture. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil. Aquaculture is the farming of fish and other water creatures. Aquaponics is plant farming using the nutrient-rich water from aquaculture inside a greenhouse. I visited such a miraculous place. It’s called Revolution Farms and they believe they’ve found the future direction of agriculture.
It all started with a beer. Tripp Frey and Chip George found themselves talking about agriculture, environmental sustainability, and aquaponics. There may have been a little college football talk, too. Both have a serious love for our planet. As Tripp and Chip’s journey furthered they discovered Ben Kant, a master aquaponics farmer. Ben wants to have the first aquaponics farm on Mars. If that doesn’t scream ambition, I don’t know what does. Along the way, they picked up Kaitlyn Dykstra, a specialized farm manager. Their vision has taken aquaponics to the next level.
Revolution Farms, located in Caledonia, Michigan, is a 50,000 sq. foot one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art greenhouse and 35,000 sq. foot aquaculture. The process perfected by the farmers uses the technique of “floating” with water fertilized by a species of fish, traditionally tilapia and this water is under the roots feeding the plants. They produce 350,000-450,000 pounds of produce and 35,000-45,000 pounds of tilapia each year.
This farm currently supplies SpartanNash owned stores with local, organic, pesticide-free, aquaponic grown lettuce. This process is 66% faster than normal methods using 80% less water, 90% less land, and lessens food travel by 95%. This means the products they grow are delivered to your table in 1-2 days instead of 1-2 weeks.
Those at Revolution Farms are committed to the neighbors of Grand Rapids and the entire state of Michigan. They want to see local food on our tables, as we know you do, as well. With the use of aquaponics farm fresh goods can be produced year-round. What place is better to build an aquaponics farm when the farming community here already thrives?
Their locally grown lettuce eliminates more than 6 days and 2,000 miles of food shipping. The aquaponics process allows the lettuce to be packaged right after being picked without having to be rinsed in chlorine water like soil-grown lettuce. Since the process is controlled, their farm is its own produce-producing ecosystem. Without soil, there’s no risk for water or soil contamination infecting our food, no presence of wild animal droppings, zero pesticides, and its fertilizer free. Currently, there are 4 types of lettuce being grown, but their aim is to be the leading local grower of lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, spinach, blueberries, and more! Stick around, the best is yet to come.