Last Friday, December 28th, 2012, the Chicago Department of Public Health came out to do a licensing inspection. We passed and can proudly say that Greens & Gills, LLC is the FIRST licensed aquaponic farm in the city of Chicago. It took a lot of hard work, but in the end we think it will all pay dividends.
We are now legally allowed to sell our produce and fish to restaurants, grocers, and at farmer’s markets. Look for us in your neighborhood in 2013…
Another new development – we have started to grow micro greens in our micro green system. This is a 6-tiered hydroponic system that will eventually utilize our matured aquaponic water for growing the micros. The beautiful part about micro greens is that you are harvesting them so young that there is no need to fertilize the plants. Therefore, we are using our carbon-filtered water that is pH-adjusted, and are seeing great results thus far. We started with a variety from some older seeds I had, but plan to focus in on 2-3 varieties, so we can ensure a consistent supply to our restaurants and retail customers. Some of the micros we grew in our first run include: arugula, pac choi, red cabbage, two mustard varieties, lemon basil, opal basil, cinnamon basil, and some more.
It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have Tilapia fingerlings in our nursery system. We have had them over two weeks now, and they seem to be doing quite well! They are feeding like crazy! Here is a short video of us introducing some fingerlings from their shipment bag into the nursery (note – it is essential to properly acclimate the fish to your system water temperature and chemistry prior to full introduction into the system. Improper acclimation can cause extreme stress and in some cases, mortality.)
About a week ago, we had a visit from our aquaponics consultants, Rebecca Nelson and John Pade of Nelson and Pade, Inc. They also brought along Craig Bach, their new VP of Finance. If I haven’t said it before, I will say it again – Nelson and Pade are hydroponic and aquaponic industry experts. They design and sell the industry’s most advanced, science-backed aquaponic systems on the market, and we have had a working relationship for over two years now. We are excited to work with them on Greens & Gills Chicago and only hope to continue cultivating a professional and personal relationship with them as we scale our company in Chicago and replicate our model into other urban markets.
The Team was able to see our farm space at The Plant and go over our installation. Seems as though we did a good job! The only minor tweak we have to make it raising the pipe that exits Mineralization Tank #2 and dumps water into the Degassing Tank (so that is is level with the pvc pipe leaving the Bio-Reactor that dumps water into the Degassing Tank) – simple enough! Their system looks fantastic in our space, and we are beyond excited to germinate our first series of seeds (to grow in our micro green system) and stock our Fish Nursery with Tilapia fingerlings. Thanks for coming to see us, Team Nelson and Pade!