Real estate investment trust Liberty Two Degrees (L2D) on Friday launched a rooftop aquaponics farm district at its Eastgate shopping centre, in Bedfordview.
The farm is a first for the company’s shopping centres. It uses smart technology to provide sustainable food production solutions to patrons of the centre and the broader Johannesburg area.
“In partnership with Ichthys, a leading aquaponics company, the Eastgate aquaponics farm district aims to create a premium go-to experience for the future of sustainable, organic and educational food sourcing.
“The concept of aquaponics marries aquaculture and organic farming with hydroponics, whereby plants and fish are grown together in one integrated system. The fish produce clean and natural fertiliser that provides a natural food source for the growing plants, while the plants, in turn, provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in,” said L2D asset manager Carmen Collison.
She added that there were rising cost challenges impacting the profitability of conventional farming, while the aquaponics farm at Eastgate uses natural sources of energy and uses 90% less water than conventional farming methods.
“The farming community has declined by two-thirds since 1990, with the demand on fish resulting in stock depletion. Increased standards of living have resulted in humanity’s ecological footprint exceeding the planet’s biocapacity by 30%,” Collison explained.
L2D CEO Amelia Beattie noted that the need to start adopting climate-positive strategies could not be emphasised enough. “The aquaponics initiative aligns to our objective of achieving a net zero sustainability target by 2030.”
The farm district will also educate local communities on alternative farming methods.
Beattie said the farming model could be replicated across L2D’s portfolio.
“The chemicals and synthetic fertilisers used in conventional farming, as well as excess water use, carbon heavy distribution and plastic packaging of produce has become increasingly more harmful to both our environment and to our health.
“So, what we do is offer the ultimate solution to sustainable farming through aquaponics. We are excited to be showcasing the future of food production that is affordable, sustainable, certified by nature and educational alongside Eastgate shopping centre,” stated Ichthys MD Justin Hess.