UPC is in the process of working with real estate developers and local government entities to locate an ideal space for our operations. UPC has the versatility to act as both an anchor institution and a production facility. Our vision is a combined production and retail concept that is woven into the fabric of the Baltimore community.
Last Week, the UPC team had the opportunity to visit the Cylburn Aquaponics Farm, operated by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The project was developed by experts from renowned food systems think tank, The Center for a Livable Future (CLF). This initiative is spearheaded by aquaculture expert Dave Love, and farm manager, Laura Genello. Cylburn acts as both a research lab and an educational farm for the community. The farms hosts anyone from school age children to commercial growers interested in alternative growing methods. The CLF also offers a summer program, that acts as a crash course in aquaponic growing. UPC is arranging to partner with Cylburn and the CLF to test our vertical growing methods and various crop varietals in their greenhouse. Consumer education and interaction are vital as we grow our company. This opportunity will provide valuable insight into how the community interacts with our product.
Laura lead us on a tour of the farm, and explained the intricacies of the system, and how it recycles and circulates water / nutrients to grow a wide variety of plants. Laura harvests the produce, and sells it at the Waverly Farmers Market on saturdays. The farm also raises tilapia which, and their waste serves as nutrients for the growing process. Laura explained how tilapia are an ideal fish species for aquaponic production because of their resiliency and growth rate, however, they the cost of heating the tanks for this tropical, Nile fish, is high. Below is a video of the farm and how the process worked