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Friday, April 16, 2010

Does Large-Scale Urban Fish Farming Make Sense Here?

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 5:53 PM

click to enlarge A student at the Chicago High School of Agricultural Science checks on an experimental tank of tilapia. - ZBIGNIEW BZDAK/CHICAGO TRIBUNE
  • Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune
  • A student at the Chicago High School of Agricultural Science checks on an experimental tank of tilapia.
Our favorite morsel from the blogs.

Mission fishin': While the idea of urban farming continues to crackle through the zeitgeist, for most of us it's still more romance than reality, even in hotbeds like S.F. and Oakland. But what about the notion of urban fish farms? Could they be a way for cities to feed themselves more efficiently than some notion of turning street medians into apple orchards?

Today in Slate's The Big Money, Dan Mitchell asks if urban fish farming could be the next big thing. No, here in our fair city, that wouldn't mean stocking Stow Lake with crappie, but building huge indoor tanks under artificial lights, aquaponic systems that are the equivalent of hydroponic setups for growing cucumbers or indica bud.

Mitchell references a story in the Chicago Tribune about the struggle to build commercial fish farms in the Windy City ― current zoning considers fish to be livestock, and thus not commercially cultivatable. But advocates see it as a sensible, sustainable way to raise huge amounts of protein smack up against the people who'd be its consumers. What about it, San Francisco: Time to raise the bar on urban food-raising?

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