Inside an ordinary building at Fyn River Farms in Loveland, Colorado is something extraordinary, perhaps the future of farming.
“We are vertically integrated high output aquaponics herb farm,” said Jason Ryder, the farm’s co-owner and chief operating officer.
The farm grows thousands of herbs like basil, with an eye on being environmentally-friendly.
“We're conserving probably five million gallons (of water) a year,” said Ryder.
They’re also conserving space, growing the equivalent of 10 acres of annual production in this facility.
But that’s just the beginning. The biggest part of what’s going on in this farm, is something you don’t notice at first glance.
The farm uses goldfish to provide the nutrients for the plants to grow.
“That's right. They're our farm workers. They don't get paid though. Room and board,” said Ryder. “We feed the fish the fish. The fish waste then goes into a biological filter pump which we have housed outside and the biological filter converts the fish waste into plant food.”
That adds up to big savings, not just for the farm but for the environment.
“It's efficient it's high output it's low input cost the cost of fertilizers is very low and waste water is very low,” said Ryder.
Ryder says this offers a way for people to start farming for themselves and their communities, with a fraction of the resources.
“It's also very empowering for individuals to be able to know. Where their food is coming from and have access to food,” said Ryder.
It’s the future of arming, re-imagined, powered by an unlikely farm animal.
“We make sure they stay happy so our plants stay happy,” said Ryder.