A Berlin start-up is breeding bass and basil in the same waters. The fish are providing the nutrients for the plants - an unusual but effective form of aquaculture. Fish fertilizes plant. This formula is what is called aquaponics. In special facilities, fish and plant are bred simultaneously, with a common water and nutrient cycle. Up to 90 percent less water consumption is possible, according to the Federal Information Center for Agriculture.
A farm, in the middle of Berlin
It is a concept that works, at least in Berlin-Schönefeld. Here we can find the ECF farm, which combines the cultivation of cichlids with the cultivation of herbs. "The special thing is that the water here is not coming from outside: it first flows past our fish," says Nicolas Leschke, co-founder of ECF Farmsystems. "Hauptstadtbasilikum" and "Hauptstadtbarsch" are the names of the products that end up at around 350 supermarkets in the region. Thousands of pots of basil are leaving the farm every week.
For consumers, who are increasingly paying attention to climate-friendly and regional food, this so-called urban farming is a fine alternative. Bass and basil are just the start, in Schönefeld. More challenging plants such as peppers, zucchini or tomatoes are soon to follow.