22 Oct 2015
Hofit, Israel
Organic Food and Agriculture

Fish waste is converted into plant nutrients, thus creating a self-sustaining ecosystem conducive to breeding. This is the principle of aquaponics, a food production method based on water recycling. Thanks to this technique, the Israeli company LivinGreen offers a sustainable solution that addresses many ecological and economic issues.

Aquaponics is a technique for food production resulting from the combination between aquaculture (fish farming in a closed environment) and hydroponics (soilless cultivation.) This system, already in use by Mesoamerican cultures and in Asian rice fields, has many ecological virtues while its main attraction is the conservation of water.

Moti Cohen pioneered this technique in Israel. Consultant to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and author of several books dedicated to aquaponics, he founded the company LivinGreen in 2010 through which he runs many projects of education, trade and development assistance.

The concept of aquaponics is relatively simple: you basically grow crops above ground, using water from farmed fish. There are three types of organisms (fish, plants, bacteria) in this recreated ecosystem and the waste of one becomes the food for the other. Thanks to the action of the bacteria, fish excrement becomes fertilizer to feed the plants which in turn act as a biological filter.

With state of the art technologies, LivinGreen created the “LivingBox”, a modular production system, which allows everyone to become a farmer. This domestic mini-farm is as a sustainable solution for countries with low resources as it allows the production of food without the use of fertilizers or electricity, while providing practical solutions to water shortages. In 2014, LivinGreen initiated an educational project in Ghana, with the construction of aquaponics systems in schools. The company also worked on a project in Ethiopia led by FAO.

When fish grow vegetables | The Switchers
When fish grow vegetables | The Switchers

Among LivinGreen’s other projects is the creation of an ecological farm in Beit Herut, in the Hefer Valley, which is a centre for research and the promotion of aquaponics techniques. The company has also built a production area on the roof of the Dizengoff Centre in Tel Aviv, which provides fresh vegetables for the restaurants in the shopping centre. A concept of an urban farm that could easily multiply on the roofs and terraces of the world.

LivinGreen Aquaponics & Hydroponics
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