Silver Bay, MN
From the outside this looks like a typical greenhouse. But on the inside this 10,000 square foot facility is an elaborate maze of tubing, connecting troughs and large containers of water.
The city of Silver Bay partnered with researchers from UMD to develop a new, sustainable way to produce food.
"It starts with fish, and the fish follow the water and draw down the oxygen, and those nutrients. And the low oxygen water is run out to these troughs out in the green house and the plants do the opposite, they take up the nutrients and re add the oxygen." Said Mike Mageau, the Director of Sustainable Community Development.
This system of farming is called aquaponics. It uses the waste from fish to fertilize vegetable plats, then the plants clean the water and add oxygen for the fish, basically a closed cycle loop.
The goal of the project is to create jobs, while sustainably growing and harvesting fish, and vegetables.
"We'll have three troughs filled with plants so ones devoted to lettuce, and then the other one is devoted to basil, it's a good cash crop, and we will be producing basil, as well as cilantro and parsley." Said researcher for UMD David Abazs.
Having a cash crop is important because one of the goals for this project is to show there can be money to be made, with the right system, while going green.
According to Lana Fralich, the Silver Bay City Administrator, there are other aspects to the project as well.
"We are looking at ways to control and our energy for the future, we're looking at ways to control our food for the future, and educate." said Lana Fralich, the Silver Bay City Administrator.
This facility will be a functioning classroom as well as a functioning business. Not only bringing in revenue, but also acting as a research facility to continually enhance the sustainable practice.
This facility will act as a blueprint for future generations to improve green living practices.
Baylor Radtke, another UMD Researcher says, "There's no real roof to what we can do right now, and that's the fun part."
The major financial contributions for the project have come from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic development, the I–Triple R–B and the Minnesota State Legislature.
Meteorologist Adam Lorch