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A rooftop fish farm for every family?


May 11, 2012

It may look nothing more than an oddly shaped greenhouse, but the "Globe (hedron)" is a concept for a rooftop aquaponics dome that Urban Farmers hopes will help address global food security

It may look nothing more than an oddly shaped greenhouse, but the "Globe (hedron)" is a concept for a rooftop aquaponics dome that Urban Farmers hopes will help address global food security

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It may look nothing more than an oddly shaped greenhouse, but the "Globe (hedron)", a collaboration by food futurists Urban Farmers AG and and designer Antonio Scarponi of Conceptual Devices, is a concept for a self-contained rooftop aquaponics dome that its designers hope will help address global food security. The company is seeking funding to turn the concept into a prototype.

Aquaponics is a marriage of aquaculture (farming aquatic animals, like fish or prawns) and hydroponics (growing plants in water). Effluents from fish (and their food) accumulate in the water. When channeled to plants these are consumed as nutrients, purifying the water in the process before it becomes toxic to the fish. In the Fishy Farm, we saw the principle applied to fish tanks, and though obviously not aquaponic, the veggie-roof chicken coop works on a similar symbiotic idea.

Urban Farmers has set up a crowd funding page on Kickstarter-alike IndieGoGo, seeking US$15,000 to turn the idea into a prototype. According to the page the rooftop domes would have skeletons made from renewable materials (bamboo is proposed). Perhaps the biggest surprise on the page is the claim that a single Globe could feed a family of four year-round, providing it with all the fish, vegetables and herbs it needs. Unrealistic? It sounds a very optimistic estimate at any rate.

And the effectiveness of the approach to crowd sourcing adopted here aside (Urban Farmers is merely offering prints of its designs - why not offer a full-fledged prototype for $100,000?), the idea of a modular rooftop farming system founded upon aquaponics seems perfectly reasonable, concept or no.

Source: IndiGoGo page, Urban Farmers AG, Conceptual Devices

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway

Might make more sense if this was applied to rivers, many of which in Britain are canals which are barely used. Also in the western United States there are many storm drains, which could support a minimum level of water for fish aquaponics for a good portion of the year, the point being it will cost more to fit these things to rooftops than to convert drains and rivers to aquaculture.


I don't understand the rich water aspect.Is this to say that the rain water is of no use


rain water is completely usable....it just needs to be collected in the right containers. When it runs off roof tops (with shingles for instance) it can have harmful cheIcals in it. The same goes for storm drains...they can be full of things like petroleum, anti freeze, etc from cars. These chemicals could kill the fish in the system or leech into the plants to be eaten. As long aas there is a cclean water source, then there can be a clean food source.

Rick Flickenger

In most western states the rain that falls from the sky is the property of the state, and you are not permitted (legaly) to collect it. Although they do not prosecute private individuals from doing so. Businesses on the other hand they do watch and fine if they collect rain water. All rain water & snow melt is calculated, wheter it is in a river or an aquafer and is rationed among the states that the rivers and aquafers run through. You can however buy the water (thorough you utility bills) and do this. You can pack a lot of fish in a small space, but then you might get the PETA people mad at you. (You also might need a permit to have live trout and samon and other types of fish in some states.)


I've never heard of rain fall being owned by the states! I'd like to see that in writing myself! Anyway, "Aquaponics" is a proven system that works. Not sure if this system they are describing can feed a family of four year round...unless they like to weigh the same as an Etheopian!? The fish produce waist that a bacteria converts to fertilizer for the plants. The plants absorb this nutrient and clean the water which is dropped kind of high back into the fish tank. This drop oxygenates the water for the fish. They say when you start this system that is a good idea to go ahead and place some "gunk" or old water from a pond into the system to jump-start the bacteria growth. Otherwise you may have dead plants without enough nutrients. Oh, after you eat food grown from this system you can start a compost where you grow earth worms in. They can help to eat up the compost and every once in a while feed the fish some worms! Yummy!

While the first one is cool the second one is less so. Any fish farm should also produce the fish food which should be similar to their actual former food. Personally I wouldn't eat a farmed fish, shrimp if you paid me as they will feed anything to them and they do. Especially Asian imports but the west isn't that great either.

Here in Fla all the non commercial fish are thriving so much they are actually jumping in my boat last time ;^P

Seriously our fresh water fish are overrunning our waters . The salt water are not quite as abundant but close.

The smart thing instead of fish farms, why not just help the wild fish recover? It cost much less and produces much higher quality and quantity .

Just alternating fishing areas with reserves that are not fished has done wonders where used. And cost nothing other than not fishing 50% of the water.

It's fishermen overseas that have done this mostly reviving their fishery to increase their catches and it has worked well, increasing catches 4x's + in many cases. And being able to keep that harvest up forever is such a better, lower cost idea.


We have destroyed up to 90% of the fish biomass by using improper dragging. When will this insanity stop?

Mike Stokes
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