Sustainability and innovation are the driving forces behind our farm at FoodChain. We operate an indoor aquaponics farm that raises tilapia and a variety of fresh produce in one interconnected system. Our recirculating aquaponics farm recycles water and nutrients, enabling us to conserve more resources compared to other farming practices. We also have a new salt water aquaculture system growing marine shrimp.
About Our Farm
Aquaponics is a creative approach to sustainable agriculture where two industries- aquaculture (farming fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil) – are combined to make one efficient, resource conserving system! Here, the fish waste serves as the fertilizer for the plants and the plants then clean the water to send it back to the fish! Win-win!
FoodChain’s farm focuses on growing tilapia and leafy greens, including lettuces, herbs, and microgreens! In 2019 we added marine shrimp to our farm and hope to add an aquaponics grow bed to this salt water system! Much of the harvest is sold to our immediate neighbors at Smithtown Seafood, as well as a handful of other restaurants and kitchens around Lexington.
By keeping it local we are able to clearly demonstrate the economic and environmental advantages of food staying within the community rather than traveling thousands of miles before ending up in a grocery store.
Check out the video below from our intern, Sophia, to learn about the lettuce life cycle on our aquaponics farm!
Beyond a cultivation model, our small indoor farm is also a pathway to food systems education for tour groups, interns, volunteers, university research partners, and all visitors who come and visit our little oasis. Minutes away from the center of Lexington, our farm allows many of nearby schools, families, and individuals to come engage with food production in a new and exciting way.
We offer a Classroom Aquaponics Program (CAP) where we work with teachers and students to install mini-aquaponics systems in classrooms all over Fayette County. CAP provides a complete and interconnected ecosystem right in the classroom. There are now mini-systems in 22 elementary and middle schools impacting over 10,000 kids’ education everyday!
Come Tour The Farm!
Come visit our indoor 7,000 gallon aquaponics system – the first of its kind in Kentucky! We grow tilapia and greens in a recirculating system that uses the waste from one organism as the feed for the other! Learn all about this innovative and sustainable way of growing food as well as how FoodChain is forging links between our community and fresh food through education and demonstration of local food systems! Great for families with kids age 4 and up! Tours last about an hour and meet in the lobby of Smithtown Seafood on W. 6th Street.
Check out this brief tour video we made as part of a collaboration with Community Action Council’s Head Start summer program! It gives a brief explanation of our aquaponics farm and shows off some of our plants and fish!