A rooftop fish farm for every family?
May 11, 2012
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.