Friday the 1st of July marks and exciting day for both innovators and food security enthusiasts alike as Urban Catch Aquaponics installs one of its aquaponics systems in the Glasgow Science Centre. Urban Catch is a Glasgow-based social enterprise which designs engagement and education opportunities around sustainability and urban food production. The organisation aims to spread awareness and use of aquaponics, one of the most sustainable forms of food production in the world. It combines the use of aquaculture – fish farming and hydroponics – growing plants in water instead of soil in a circular production method which provides natural nutrients to the plants and clean, filtered water to the fish. As a result, aquaponics can grow food up to three times quicker while using one tenth the water as soil-based agriculture. Additionally, because aquaponics harnesses a delicate ecosystem between fish, bacteria and plants, the food is grown without the use of artificial fertilisers or chemicals.
Aquaponics presents a valuable opportunity to make a shift to a more sustainable way of producing food,says Urban Catch Founder and Director Sinead Fortune. But it is also a really engaging way of showing how food production could work and a fun educational tool for young people to learn about ecosystems, food systems and so much more. Urban Catch currently works with schools in and around Glasgow through their classroom aquaponics systems and associated learning programme which links directly into the Curriculum for Excellence. The system has been trialled in a pilot school and will be launched in several others in the next academic year.
Urban Catch plans to make aquaponics accessible and applicable to all, and plans to scale up operations in the next few years to provide a hub for education and aquaponics production in Glasgow. The model system in the Glasgow Science Centre will run throughout the summer, using goldfish to produce mint. Urban Catch will also run several workshops over the summer as part of the Crunch programme; see Glasgow Science Centre™s website for more information here.