A Whole Systems Approach to producing Food Year-Round
Heat and energy produced by our CHP plant will be utilized by our greenhouse division, Gorge Greens, where fish and plants symbiotically will grow in recirculating water. At this time, a 92’x35′ hoop house has been erected to demonstrate Gorge Greens “smart-farming” technology. Gorge Greens microgreens can be found in grocery stores and restaurants throughout Portland, Vancouver and the Columbia Gorge. To learn more, visit gorgegreens.com
Microgreens are just the beginning. We have many more waste loops to close and abundance to create as our project evolves. Food waste and spent grains, the other useful biomass that is currently being dumped either into our sewers or landfills, will begin the nutrient cycle that produces a variety of edible products. By giving our waste biomass a purpose, the WRBU will also give purpose to the Wind River Business Park, turning it into Skamania County’s jewel of meaningful, family wage jobs, ecological responsibility and smart, measured growth.
By folding in Gorge Greens as an energy and heat customer into the business, WRBU sets the stage for demonstrating the opportunities available to future small businesses in the Wind River Business Park. The certified organic aquaponic greenhouses will initially cover up to 10 acres in a field that was intentionally designed for greenhouses by the original occupants, the Forest Service’s Wind River Nursery. Utilizing the most industrially tested materials, equipment and verified practices, the greenhouses will contain recirculating tanks of freshwater fish that will provide the nutrient load for raising high-quality produce at faster rates than traditional soil-based agriculture.
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water). By recirculating the water, fertilizer from the fish feed the plants and the plants filter the water for the fish. It’s an ancient method developed independently by both the Aztecs and the Chinese thousands of years ago. Today, modern technology has taken Aquaponics indoors and is solving some of the biggest challenges posed to 21st century farmers such as water scarcity, costly inputs and grow time.
What’s our Plan?
We’ll be picking up compost from neighboring breweries, distilleries, resorts, produce distributors and restaurants and feeding it to Black Soldier Fly larvae. The larvae will then be fed to our fish and our fish will create fertilizer for our plants. Only a few will be allowed to turn into adults for the purpose of laying eggs and beginning the cycle again in our indoor growing rooms.
Water flows between the fish and plants in our recirculating water system. With this whole systems approach, we’ll be able to produce larvae for fish and chicken feed, insect frass (bug poop) fertilizer, tilapia, and a wide variety of produce.
We aim to fill in the large autumn-spring gap of local produce and strengthen our regional food system. We’ll be harvesting and delivering daily, so that only the freshest greens are available to you. If there’s something you want us to grow, please get in touch.
Questions? Don’t hesitate to ask!