This conference appearance found us back in Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh at the Institute of Water’s Circular Economy Leaders’ Summit, hosted by the Institute of Water and FutureX Innovation. Once again our fish was the star of the show, but we managed to get some attention as well. Lots of great stuff happening in the industry, and lots of opportunities for collaboration in the near future!
We recently had the pleasure of taking part in the 2050 Summit. The 2050 Climate Group works with young professionals to ensure a sustainable future beyond 2050, and there was lots of interest in aquaponics and William, our star goldfish of the day!
Check out some of the great work the 2050 Climate Group is doing here.
This summer Glasgow Science Centre was host to one of our aquaponics systems. For two and a half months, visitors had the opportunity to see aquaponics in action in the second floor lab, and staff got to spoil the fish!
At the end of the residency, we held a workshop for families to introduce them to the concepts of aquaponics and get some ideas about how we should grow food in the future from our budding scientists and agrarians!
Hey, did you know that our director, Sinéad, is also a Crunch Ambassador with the Wellcome Trust’s The Crunch Programme? That means if you’re a school wanting to get to grips with the science resource kit you’ve received, or you’d like help organising an engaging event around food, health and the planet in your community, you can get in touch! Find out more here or contact us for more information.
A couple of weeks ago we installed our first classroom system in Oakgrove Primary – and a great day was had by all! We’ve been developing our lesson plans over the past year, and have come up with a collection of engaging and fun lessons that range from examining the system’s bacteria under microscopes to putting on a play that allows the students to explore the delicate relationships that are essential for the aquaponics ecosystem to thrive. All of the lessons link directly into the Curriculum for Excellence, providing teachers with a dynamic classroom tool.
We also spent the summer designing a classroom-friendly aquaponics system that features an easy to use and maintain flood/drain system. This particular tank was stocked with 2 goldfish and a selection of edible plants including lettuce, chives, nasturtium, mint, and a pineapple sage plant – looks like sage, smells like pineapple, great in salads!
We spent the morning discussing where and how food can be grown, the aquaponics cycle, and how to care for the aquaponics system. The students also put on a play comparing the journeys of a locally grown organic apple and an imported commercially grown one – a highlight of the day for several students!
The class will now look after the aquaponics system, including its two resident goldfish. We’ll check back in with the school periodically to see how they’re getting on, but based on the enthusiasm of the students we reckon the system is in good hands!
This winter has proved a busy one for Urban Catch, but I’m happy to say we now have our first premises sorted! It will serve as a research and development site for the next year, as well as somewhere to keep our ever-growing collection of fish tanks and work on our next creations. It started from pretty modest beginnings…
…but thanks to a kind donation from the St Enoch Centre, we’ll be growing with 4 Fish Plant systems this year. This will allow us to get experience with larger food-producing systems, as well as test various types of lighting. Here are the systems we’ll be working with for that.
First order of business was to wash the several hundred pounds of clay substrate that came with the systems. Little clay pebbles may be light individually, but they certainly do start to add up in bulk! A rather cold and wet weekend was spent carefully cleaning any dust or loose sediment off the balls, as this could clog up the system later on.
We’ve just begun cycling two of the systems, which means that we’ve begun to cultivate a biofilter in the tanks. The most crucial element of aquaponics is the biofilter, or the bacteria that converts the fish waste (ammonia) into nitrites and then nitrates (fertiliser for the plants). This cane be cultivated in several ways, including adding household ammonia, nominating a few intrepid trailblazer goldfish, or even “Pee-ponics” (I’ll leave that one up to your imagination). However, since we already have a few well-established aquaponics systems, we just used some of the substrate and stones from those to “seed” our new systems. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to establish the bacterial colony this way.
Much more to come in the coming weeks as we get the systems running and the workshop set up!