Aquaponics, from fish to strawberry, the future of agriculture in circular economy


Aquaponics, from fish to strawberry, the future of agriculture in circular economy


2 June 2020 / 2 September 2020

VIDA Challenges

Sustainable Aquaculture

Sustainable agriculture and efficient greenhouse management


The ISV021 project has as its objective the construction of a plant, adopting the system defined “in aquaponics” for fish farming and the cultivation of fruit and vegetables that allows the reduction of harmful emissions to the environment originating from the current production plants in a circular economy. By aquaponics we mean a type of agriculture mixed with sustainable farming based on a combination of aquaculture and hydroponic cultivation, in order to obtain a symbiotic environment that allows the introduction of natural products into the food chain. The system completely reuses the water of the aquaculture system by means of biological filtration devices which allows to eliminate the discharge of waters rich in nitrates and nitrogen, a source of pollution of the aquifers. (The reduction of the concentrations of nitrogen compounds in the waste water is a key element of the Environmental Policy of the European Union, which since 1991 has adopted the “Nitrates Directive” with the aim of controlling pollution and improving the ‘water ‘ quality) In turn, the waters of the aquaculture plant, rich in nutrients, are used to grow the plants of the fruit and vegetable cultivation plant. (in our case strawberries and microgreens) Plants absorb the nutrients of the water and carry out further filtration, called phytodepuration. The filtered water can then be returned to the aquaculture tanks and resume its cycle. This symbiosis between fish farming and fruit and vegetable cultivation allows the introduction of simply natural eco-sustainable products into the food supply chain, since in the aquaponics system it is not possible to use treatments and / or chemical additives, typical of traditional cultivation, because they would cause serious damage to the health of the fish. At the same time, the use of treatments on fish would harm cultivation. This combination allows to achieve the goal set by the ISV021 project to produce simply natural products to be introduced into the food chain. A further strength of the project is the geographical position, which sees it perfectly integrated in an urban context at the gates of the Metropolitan City of Milan. From this point of view, the farm will be a true example of “urban farming”, whose product distribution network will provide for the sale at zero km.