The bountiful summer harvests continue this week as we hear back on our CT Next Growth Grant, finalize the aquaculture tank setup, see blogs on the real secret for success in aquaponics and why food security offers such a big opportunity for investment. We’ll also check out some news from the industry with a look at farms in Singapore and London, Ontario.
In This Weeks Harvest
1. CT Next Growth Grant Update
We heard back this week on our CT Next Growth Grant Application….. and…. WE GOT IT! As per CT Next’s website: The Growth Company Grants program builds on the success of Connecticut’s early-stage companies and offers support for strategic projects and customer acquisition. They focus on business sectors and companies with the highest growth potential.
CTNext defines growth-stage companies as those that have been incorporated for no more than 10 years; raised private capital; and have seen a 20 percent increase in their annual gross revenues over the last three years.
This grant will allow us to expand our offerings by affording us the capital we needed to out fit our Microgreens and Seeding Room with the infrastructure and supplies for our first year’s production. This allows us to significantly increase our production capacity in just 800 square feet of space. We think this additional module will only strengthen the Sprout Food Hub model making it easier for others to repeat in their cities and communities.
2. Company Updates
This week we made good progress on our Sprout Food Hub build out. We got our tank stands in after delays due to the
custom fabrication taking longer than initially estimated. That being said, they came out fantastic and were well worth the wait. Check out the pics below of the tank stands, custom welded by the good folks at Cable Management, our neighbors here at 290 Pratt St. We also made progress on our hydroponic beds, getting through half of our rafts that will house the plants and keep them afloat in the hydroponics troughs while the plants roots get to dangle in the nutrient rich aquaponics water.
We also made progress on our hydroponic beds, getting through half of our rafts that will house the plants and keep them afloat in the hydroponics troughs while the plants’ roots get to dangle in the nutrient rich aquaponics water. We’ll finish up all our full spacing rafts this weekend and then the last third will be seedling spacing rafts. The full spacing rafts are 2’x4′ and have 34 plant sites. The seedling rafts are 2’x2′ and have 55 plant sites. The difference in spacing allows us to house more plants in a smaller footprint while they are young and tiny and then right before they start to crowd each other we’ll move them up to the full spacing rafts to grow to maturity.
3. Blog Updates
The Real Secret To Running A Successful Aquaponics System – This blog post reveals what you really should focus on growing in your aquaponics system to grow everything to its fullest potential. Hint: it’s not fish, and it’s not plants. If you’re not sure what it is you actually need to be growing in your aquaponics system then you need to check out this post. The fish and the plants grow well because of the rarely talked about the magic of these organisms. Check out the blog to learn what it is and see our three keys to keep these organisms thriving in your aquaponics system.
Why Food Security May Be One Of the Best Investment Opportunities Of The Century? Post One: Understanding the Opportunity – The world’s biggest problems are the world’s biggest opportunities. Well, that’s actually good news because as we look at future Food Security we are in for a worldwide catastrophe if we don’t make some serious changes. But that is good because it means we also have one of the biggest opportunities ever as we look at the technology, innovators and systemic changes that will prevent the catastrophe and their potential to as a result of the need, be some of the best investment opportunities of this century. Check out the first blog post in this series to see just how big an opportunity we have in front of us.
4. Industry News
London Ontario Drafts A New Urban Agriculture Strategy – In July, London drafted a new framework for a strategy that will guide and support London, Ontario’s urban farming community. The draft addresses actionables and strategies for what aims to be accomplished in each aspect of urban farming identified in the draft. Paul van de Warf, a bigwig in the aquaponics industry, now sits on London’s Food Policy Council. The move marks London’s commitment to using urban agriculture as a primary tool for economic development and bettering life for residents in their city. Check out the full story on the blog.
Armstrong State University Uses Aquaponics to Revamp Biology Program – Armstrong State University just set up a Sustainable Aquaponics Research Center thanks to a local FORAM grant from an area real estate consortium. The center puts the focus on hands on experiential learning and takes the students out of the traditional classroom environment. This gives the students practical skills and knowledge. The program will focus on researching and developing new techniques to make aquaponics more cost and resource efficient. Check out the full details of the program here.
Sky Greens is Singapore’s Most Innovative Urban Farm – Sky Greens uses a patented hydraulic driven vertical farm of their own design. This design allows the to forgo the use of supplemental lighting while maintaining a tiered grow bed design. It is an engineering marvel that they have replicated in cities all over Asia showcasing a repeatable model for profitable urban farming. Check out their innovative technology in this blog post.
5. Featured Product
Our post on the real magic of aquaponics got you wondering how to ensure you’re getting the bacteria into your system. While they’ll find their way there naturally it can take over thirty days for a system to cycle and populate itself with enough bacteria to account for the waste being produced by the fish. You can skip this wait and cut it down to as little as 7 days with a cycling kit. These kits allow you to populate your system with nitrifying bacteria before you add fish or plants so you are ready to start growing the day you get your fish! With kits for all size systems available, no matter what your growing goals you can be sure you are getting off on the right foot. Check out our cycling kits on the shop for one that will fit your system needs.
Thanks for checking out this week’s harvest! If you’d like to receive regular updates from our blog sign up for our email list in the top-right corner of this page or drop your email in the chat box with the note “newsletter signup”. We appreciate the ongoing support for our mission!
CMO & Co-Founder