In Dortmund/Germany we just finished setting up our two 200m² research greenhouses after a mindnumbing grind for getting the required building permit. We are located on a former coking plant and had (and have) to remedy the soil contamination and take care of lots of other issues. The organic compound contamination is escaping the soil as vapor so we had to prepare the ground with a vapor barrier and we have to analyze the products before distributing anything as food. The requirements from the authorities were very demanding and waaaay over on the very very very safe side…
Next up we are going to build the interior, hydroponics, aquaculture and a thermal storage wall. We built two identical systems for research purposes, one greenhouse to conduct the experiments and the second one as control. We plan on getting the system online June/July. Will report and post more pictures.
We do not yet have the permit to rear fishes yet. That will be another application we are already preparing. Going for grass carp in low stocking density. Research wise we have two major topics: alternative business model and passive solar energy optimization.
The business model we are going to research is a rent-a-raft model. Renting out micro gardens for citizens who would like to produce their own food, but are not interested in an alotment garden. The plants in their micro garden are always watered and nurtured and higly productive. And if you don’t get along with your grow bed neighbour you can easily move the raft into another bed.
In this model revenue is decoupled from production and from marketing the produce, hopefully providing a sound financial foundation for small scale systems. Could also maybe be run as a CSA. We’ll see.
So rent-a-raft, remember you first heard it here.
This setup will also allow for examining other open topics. For example we could run a direct comparison of ‘coupled’, ‘decoupled’ and ‘partially coupled’ setups and shed some light and data on those two ‘schools’ of aquaponics.