GrowUp Urban Farms is Britain’s first aquaponic urban farm. They have just been granted planning permission to build a large-scale farm in Beckton, East London. The aquaponic urban farm will use a combination of aquaculture – fish farming – and hydroponics, or soil-free technology, to produce more than 20,000kg of salad and herbs and 4,000kg of fish each year, all from a warehouse in Beckton. The first harvest is planned for September and much of the produce will be sold to local hotels and restaurants.  

GrowUp Urban Farms will combine two well-established farming practices – aquaculture (farming fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in a nutrient solution without soil) in a recirculating system. Waste water from fish tanks is pumped through hydroponic growing beds where salad plants absorb waste nutrients from the water and clean the water for the fish as the system continually recirculates.

In all cities, and especially London, where space is at a premium, taking on existing warehouses and converting them to productive growing spaces is seen as a way of reducing the environmental impacts of food production as well as bringing food production closer to urban communities. It is a model that can be replicated and scaled in cities across the UK and the world.

GrowUp Urban Farms will also include a visitor centre allowing people to understand more about sustainable food production in cities.

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