Berlin Company Develops City’s First Aquaponic Farm

August 10, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. hydroponic /ˌhaɪ drəˈpɒn ɪk/ (adj.) – referring to the process of growing plants by placing their roots in mineral-rich water rather than soil
Example: He set up a hydroponic garden, so he wouldn’t have to deal with soil and manure.

2. excrement /ˈɛk skrə mənt/ (n.) – the waste discharged from the bowels
Example: Some farmers use animal excrement as fertilizer.

3. aquaculture /ˈæk wə kʌl tʃər/ (n.) – the method of nurturing and farming sea animals in regulated tanks
Example: He is interested in the aquaculture business.

4. cultivate /ˈkʌl təˌveɪt/ (v.) – to develop or improve the growth of something, especially plants
Example: She cultivated a small patch of land, so she could grow strawberries.

5. preservation /prɪˈzɜrv eɪ ʃən/ (n.) – the act of maintaining or keeping food fresh and edible
Example: The lack of preservation in the kitchen storage caused all the food to rot.


Read the text below.
Efficient City Farming (ECF), an agricultural company in Berlin, is becoming well-known for building compact vegetable farms that operate using Aquaponics [AK-wuh-PON-iks].

Each of the farms has two levels, creating a small Aquaponic system. The lower level holds a fish tank, while the upper level contains a hydroponic greenhouse. A separate tank functions as a filter that converts fish excrements into fertilizer, which is then mixed to the water in the greenhouse.

Aquaponics is a farming technique first used by the Aztecs and the Chinese long ago. It combines the methods of hydroponics and aquaculture.

Nicolas Leschke [LES-kee], founder of the ECF, expressed that the city-based container farms are not only convenient but also environmentally and economically friendly. Compared with conventional farms, the container farms use less water that is enough to cultivate both the plants and the fish. And because the food is directly produced within the city, preservation and transportation costs are highly reduced.

With this system, city dwellers no longer have to travel far in order to purchase quality and fresh vegetables. This, Leschke said, is the company’s primary aim. In fact, the ECF is said to embrace and encourage the growing interest of consumers on food products that are locally grown.

Although the container farms are still in the trial stage, the company has revealed its future plans to build its first full-scale aquaponic farm next year. The farm will be located within the city and will cultivate various fruits and vegetables that will be sold in a nearby store. The ECF is also hoping to attract bigger customers such as companies, real estate developers, as well as independent farmers.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you like to have compact farms in your city? Why or why not?
·         Would you recommend Aquaponics to farmers in your country? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Would you want to cultivate your own farm? Why or why not?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of growing your own farm?

August 10, 2014