Finn & Roots grows plants and fish together in a symbiotic and sustainable system called Aquaponics. This is a centuries-old growing technique that utilizes the natural waste produced by the fish to be used as organic fertilizer for the plants. Our system is run without using any antibiotics, pesticides, or herbicides. Our water and nutrients are recycled/recirculated and any excess fish waste is used for compost on our small farm orchard. This results in 90% less water usage than traditional farming and virtually no run off into our rivers and lakes. We utilize many new techniques to take this ancient growing method to a new level, literally, where mushrooms grow at ground level under tables full of Greens with hanging grow towers above the tables full of Basil and other Herbs. Our water source is from a pristine Vermont mountain spring located in the middle of our protected 200 acres of forest and fields. We raise warm water fish (currently Tilapia) that enjoy a toasty 82 degree water temperature and we maintain 70 degrees average temp. for our plants ALL year-round. Because we live in Northern Vermont and not Hawaii all of the growing is done in our special purpose-built controlled environment building that we like to call the Eco-Ark. See more about this in the Eco-Ark section.
Benefits of Aquaponics:
- Sustainable and eco-friendly food production
- Uses 90% less water than traditional soil based farming
- Produces clean tender greens free of grit
- Greens have a longer shelf life compared to soil grown
- No risk of soilborne diseases
- No risk of Salmonella or E. Coli as fertilizer is from fish (cold-blooded animals)
- Produces clean, local fish free of antibiotics, excess mercury, and hormones
- No water and fertilizer run off
- Harmful pesticides or herbicides can not be used in Aquaponics
- Better than organic as even “organic approved” pesticides in the system can kill the fish
To further maximize efficiencies inside the Eco-Ark we have integrated hanging vertical grow towers that soak up the Southern sun while shading the fish tanks behind them. There are Strawberries, Mint, Cilantro, Chives and Giant Parsley growing in these towers year-round regardless of the weather outside! These towers hover above the crops grown on the tables stretching up over 10 feet above the floor like a wall of greens.
In addition to the vertical towers there are baskets hanging above the table crops with flowers that attract beneficial insects which are spaced throughout the Ark. Shaded under some of the grow tables are mushrooms which create the 3rd level of growing. Together the multi-levels and great diversity of crops along with the aquatic fish system all sharing the same environment make this a happy and unique ecosystem. This way of growing is nothing like the big commercial greenhouses that pump out thousands of monoculture plants a day in a sterile laboratory like environment.