A collective “ooh” went up as the condensation cleared from a new 12 x 7 metre structure to reveal the UK’s first aquaponic solar greenhouse, in the perhaps unlikely environs of Kate Humble’s 117-acre ex-council farm in Monmouthshire, Wales.
This is a greenhouse with a surprising wow factor. Inside, you can make out the blue of the fish tanks containing male tilapia (a species chosen as they grow rapidly to harvest size and as one of yesterday’s visitors put it “taste lovely on a barbecue”) and the raised beds full of fledgling vegetable crops. Of course, there is also much that you can’t see – which is rather the point with a closed-loop food production system that needs little interference; the vegetable beds fill and drain, twice an hour, sustained by nutrient-rich water from the fish tanks.
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