The Victus Hydro–ponics farm in Silverbay is thriving. There were a few bumps in the road, but now produce is being pumped out at a rapid pace.
Michael Mageau, the Director, Center for Sustainable Community Development told me, "We have almost 50lbs of basil a week now that we can harvest, and we are probably around 500 heads of lettuce and we hope to be close to 1000 in a month."
The produce is then sent to local grocery stores and restaurants. But the farm is also producing food for their aquatic livestock. Duckweed is being grown as food for their fish.
"We've been really pleasantly surprised, this stuff grows at an incredible rate, and we think in this little area we can grow 25–50 percent of what we feed our fish." said Mageau.
Supplying the fish with food that's been grown on–site greatly reduces cost and increases sustainability. And it's also convenient that the fish are pretty easy going.
Mageau told me, "Tilapia are a really common fish raised in this sort of way, they are really tolerant and they grow really fast so they're a popular choice and there is a good market for them."
The farm is also raising their fish stock by breeding on–site.
"In this tank there's a male, they call it a 'Super Male', and a bunch of females and so this is our breeding tank. After the females get pregnant they get put into a separate tank where they actually carry their young in their mouth for up to a week. Each mom can produce about 2–500 young. After the babies get big enough they get put into the bigger tanks where they are allowed to grow faster and within 9–months they're already full grown at 2–pounds." I explain.
"So we're trying to produce about a thousand fish a month, which is about 2,000 pounds of fish per month or 24–thousand per year." said Mageau.
The first batch of fish will be ready to harvest within a month. Stores like the Duluth Co–op, Grand Marais Co–Op and other local restaurants are purchasing the produce from the farm and will be candidates for purchasing the fish as well.
Meteorologist Adam Lorch