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Berlin project promises urban fish and veg 'Fresh from the Roof'

The Local · 15 Nov 2011, 14:46

Published: 15 Nov 2011 14:46 GMT+01:00

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Managers of Berlin’s Malzfabrik, a former factory in the south of the city, are developing the plans to fit in with the cultural and social projects as well as office and art space already established in the complex.

The old brewery, built in 1917 by Schultheiss Brewery, stopped making beer in 1996, and was turned into a multipurpose complex full of everything from artists to photographers in 2008. It still has 22 boilers which had been used for malt, but which will be turned into big fish tanks for tilapia.

The factory's roofs, a total of 7,000 square metres – about the size of a football field – will be glassed over and then covered in lettuce, kohlrabi, tomatoes and herbs. The project will be called “Fresh from the Roof”.

The idea is to sell the vegetables in the Malzfabrik as well as local shops – but the garden on the roof will be intimately linked to the fish.

“The kicker is that our system is self-contained,” said Nicholas Leschke, deputy manager of the Malzfabrik.

“Only the fish food will be brought in.” The water system will be a closed one, with the water from the fish, enriched with their excrement being used to water and fertilise the plants, which in turn clean the water which is fed back to the fish. This will mean that the production of a kilo of fish will only need 200 litres of fish rather than the 1,000 litres generally needed.

“All the rest of the resources we will need will come from renewable energy and rainwater collection,” said Karoline von Böckel, head of sustainability for the project.

The Malzfabrik project leaders have already tested the aquaponic system of water circulation on site, and successfully grew tomatoes this summer in a green house on top of an old shipping container in which the fish were housed.

This is now set to be expanded, and work is ongoing in cooperation with the city’s Technical University to produce a feasibility study. “This will show us how the farm can be economically established in detail,” said Leschke.

The next challenge will be to secure investors to put in the €5 million needed to set the whole thing up. Leschke is confident it will work.

Story continues below…

“No-one will be able to stop us with our project. There are enough sponsorship programmes for people like us in the vanguard,” he said.

The aim is to have the growing – and swimming – in full swing by the spring of 2013.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

23:07 November 15, 2011 by jbaker
Are the fish going to be fed Genetically Modified Corn, processed into pellets like they do on fish farms around the world(Tilapia,Catfish,Salmon)? If so, then these GMO excrements will be fed to the plants and some unknowing people will have a nice Genetically Modified Meal.

Yum. They can advertise this as half the amount of vitamins, but just as filling.

They say no one will be able to stop them. That is if people stay in the dark about the what Genetically Modified Foods will do to you over time? It is time to educate ourselves on what the large food companies of the world are doing before it is too late to stop it.
12:12 November 16, 2011 by cdrk
Unfortunately some will never accept the simple fact that growing plants only would be enough to feed humanity, pollutes much less (or not at all depending on the way it is done) than farming animals (including fish).

People who speak in term of production and payoff don't care about environmental issues, they only care about their wallets, that's a pity.

As far as I know exploiting animal is not part of any vanguard, it's even the total opposite...
12:58 November 16, 2011 by mos101392
What is it with Germans and Genetically modified foods/harmones? Because of this fear, I cannot buy American beef in Germany because it's "unhealthy"...of course it's about the money. Who would eat Argentinian/German steaks after eating a Texas Rib eye? If it is about heath and not money...which I seriously doubt,

you can however buy very healthy American tobacco (sarcasm). Has it been proven that harmones are unhealthy? It has been proven that tobacco causes cancer. It's also a known fact that a Volvo is safer than a trabi...but the German government allows it's citizens to drive them still. If big brother Germany was so concerned about thier citizen's health, you think they would ban tobacco products. Again, it's about the money.
06:37 November 23, 2011 by sunnyarky
Nice to learn this message.

This news seems very very good to Aquaponics.

We also promote Aquaponics at Taiwan more then ten years.

So difficult to promote it at all.
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