What's growing on here then?
We're Kate and Tom and we are GrowUp!
We want to show how fresh food can be grown anywhere in the city in a way that is ecologically sustainable and commercially scalable. For us, aquaponics is the technology that can make that vision a reality - by producing fresh fish and vegetables in a recirculating farming system.
So you're transfarming a car park?
With your help we will build our urban farm and open it as part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival in May 2013. We're planning to be onsite at 47/49, doing the installation from the start of April, and we'll have a grand opening in May. We'll then continue to farm the box across the summer and beyond! We'll be open to the public so that you can come along and see how its possible to grow fresh vegetables without soil, chemical fertilizers or pesticides, and produce fresh, sustainable fish.
Aren't there plenty more fish in the sea?
Actually no. Sustainable fish farming is a cause close to our hearts and we think cities need affordable, locally produced and sustainable sources of protein. Producing fish as well as vegetables is what makes us special and scalable.
Lettuce in on the secret - what are you going to use the money for?
All the money we fund through kickstarter will go to building the farm including:
- The retrofitting of a used shipping container
- The purchase and installation of a greenhouse
- All the aquaponic kit to grow and look after the fish
- Vertical growing towers to allow us to maximise the amount of vegetables we can grow
- Baby fish and vegetables seeds to grow in the farm
Who else is part of this shoal?
We're working with some fantastic partners on this project.
47/49 are going to be the first hosts of the GrowUp box, allowing us to use their fabulous space in Bermondsey to get this project going.
We've been collaborating closely with the inspirational UrbanFarmers in Switzerland, following in their "fin-steps" to build the first Box farm in the UK and making the most of their world-class aquaponic research lab.
We're running the project as part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival and we share their dedication to encouraging energy and excitement around growing in the city.
We've also had the privilege of working with some very creative people. Ben and Tom of Soul Cut Films worked their magic to create our Kickstarter video and Sam Cox is the brains behind the design for the structure of the box itself.
And if it all goes swimmingly, what next?
Just one last question - do your vegetables taste of fish poo?
We've never eaten fish poo, and our vegetables are delicious. Since the roots of the plants absorb the nutrients from the water, the leaves and fruits (the bits we eat) are clean, healthy and don't sit in the water.
Risks and challenges
Grow fish? Are you crazy?
No (not really), but we do know that this is something new, different and unusual and so we're doing everything we can to make sure this project is safe, sustainable and ethical.
We've got a crack team of experts who have advised us and helped us design this project, including the owners of the world's first aquaponic rooftop farm, an architect, a structural engineer and people who really like converting shipping containers into other stuff. This collection of expertise means we're well placed to deal with any challenges in the build and implementation of the project.
Tom has a background in ecology with commercial experience assessing and evaluating construction projects for their environmental impact, so we'll have a constant eye on the environmental and sustainability implications of this project.
Kate's experience with aquaponic farming systems and working on the UrbanFarmers farm in Switzerland, (as well as working on a communal rooftop garden in London) will help ensure the fish are healthy and happy and the plants are green and delicious.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)