UrbanFarmers AG announces launch of first commercial Aquaponic rooftop farm project in Basel, Switzerland
Planned to produce more than 5 tons of vegetables and 800 kilograms of fresh fish annually
Zurich, July 2 2012 – UrbanFarmers AG, a pioneering Clean-?Tech company in the field of urban agriculture, today announced the launch of the “LokDepot” rooftop farm project in Basel, Switzerland. The pilot project operated by UrbanFarmers AG is most likely the first commercial-? scale Aquaponic rooftop farm project of its kind worldwide and will provide food for 100 people year-?around.
The “LokDepot” rooftop farm covers a greenhouse area of 260 square meters and is planned to produce more than 5 tons of vegetables and 800 kilograms of fresh fish annually – enough to feed a local community of 100 people year-?around. The capital investment of CHF 700’000 has been financed by a grant of Christoph Merian (CMS) Foundation, UrbanFarmers AG and its private group of investors. CMS Foundation is also the landlord of the “LokDepot” facility and will provide the rooftop free of charge to UrbanFarmers for the next 20 years of farm operations.
The design and development of the project has been ongoing since more than year. Allowing for the specific load capacity of the fish basins weighting approximately 1 ton per square meter each has been one of technical challenges, amongst others. The engineering team around greenhouse developer GysiBerglas AG has therefore been instrumental in defining the key parameters of the farm construction layout and its requirements for heating, ventilation, shading and energy. If the “LokDepot” pilot proofs successful, commercial rooftop farming could potentially open a multi-? billion market opportunity. Markus Berglas, CEO of GysiBerglas AG explains: “We have never been commissioned to build a greenhouse on an urban rooftop but quickly realized that this idea bears enormous potential, given the vast amount of available rooftop space that lies untapped in many cities in the world.”
Construction of the rooftop farm will commence immediately, with a planned operational launch of the Aquaponic production system in October this year. Andreas Graber, Head of R&D and Founder of UrbanFarmers AG, comments: „We will operate the rooftop farm during an intensive pilot period of 18 months in close collaboration with the University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). This pilot phase will provide us with a real-?world testing environment and deliver a proof of concept on how to scale the rooftop farm design and its operating model for larger endeavors in Switzerland and beyond.”