Could Aquaponics Be the Future of NYC Agriculture?

While aquaponics isn’t new, increasing interest in growing fish and plants in an integrated, indoor system could make it a future reality for New York City’s food system, despite skepticism and a questionable track record.

Issues facing the food system in the United States are no secret: overconsumption, underproduction, waste, inequitable distribution, and unsustainable farming practices all top the list.

Innovation could help. In fact, aquaponics could make agriculture commercially viable in New York City, thanks to new technology (think proprietary software, complex plumbing systems, and LED lighting) and a strong demand for local food.

A 2010 report from the New York City Council revealed unmet demand for regionally grown produce of $600 million. One need only imagine how that number has skyrocketed in the last five years.

“We do aquaponics for the quality of produce it yields,” Jason Green, CEO and co-founder of Edenworks, told Crain’s New York Business. “Our innovation is that we can do aquaponics cost-effectively, scalably and repeatedly.”

Data on the economic feasibility of aquaponics in the United States is sketchy, and economic feasibility metrics are inconsistent. Although the long-term viability hasn’t been proven, the business model has huge potential, with triple bottom-line benefits ranging from the environment to the community.  Read more