What is the Bristol Fish Project?
Bristol Fish Project is a community-supported aquaponics farm in Bristol. Our work is an experiment in the commercial viability of community-supported aquaponics. We want to see if urban aquaponic farming can be a viable livelihood, to explore how aquaponic farming can help to close urban material loops, and to build community through innovative, collaborative local food systems.
Aquaponics is a fairly recent addition to the methods and techniques available to food producers and due to its newness, much of the data for small businesses to get involved is still missing. We hope to contribute our experiences and data to the growing body of information available to small businesses.
How did the project get started?
Alice had written a research bid on the commercial viability of ‘closed loop’ urban agriculture with an international group, and realised that even though they didn’t get the funding, she still wanted to find out if urban farming could provide viable livelihoods whilst also closing material loops. She had a long standing fascination with aquaponics and found herself faced with an opportunity to learn by doing and to start a small business herself as a conduit through which to explore. In the beginning of 2012 Alice and the core group began the work of setting up Bristol Fish Project, recruiting a group of community supporters to the project and running a pilot project for 18 months.
What is happening now?
We are now working on 2 facilities in Bristol –
- Phoenix Cafe in central Bristol works with the skipchen and Real Junk Food Project” to cook up food that was destined as ‘waste’, and they offer their tasty ‘junk’ meals on a Pay As You Feel basis. An aquaponics unit is in the process of being set up to grow plants for the cafe to supplement the skipchen menu with herbs and salads. The unit showcases technologies from Fish Plant, Green’s Horticulture and Seneye and you can visit it during the cafe’s opening hours. We are cycling the fish plant and building a hydroponic wall this week – Why not pop in and see the build in progress and chat to Phoenix Cafe owner Annie Davies.
- An large indoor tech and innovation driven site in Hartcliffe. A 590sqft warehouse with gardens – updates on this project can be found in our blog as we gut and then build our hi-tech facility.
and teach regular courses. Bristol Fish Project has been awarded a strategic grant for Bristol’s year as Green Capital (2015).
What motivates you?
We think all people should be able to access affordable, good food, and that urban aquaponic farming can contribute to wider urban sustainability by recycling urban resources and bringing people together. We hope to evidence that urban aquaponic farming can provide viable urban livelihoods. By sharing what we are doing we hope other communities can be inspired to give aquaponics a try and we hope we can together develop some kind of social enterprise framework for closing urban-material loops through community supported aquaponics.