Fresh City Farms - Downsview Aquaponics

Summary: Toronto’s Fresh City Farms cultivates over 6 acres at sites across the city, and installed the largest operating aquaponic system in the Greater Toronto Area in a 3,000 sq ft greenhouse at Downsview park

Technical details:

  • Size: 3,000 sq ft greenhouse
  • Production system: Climate controlled greenhouse, deep water cultivation and media beds.
  • Species: Tilapia, salad greens, herbs, tomatoes, peppers.
  • Dates Operational: Winter 2013 to Spring 2016

Partners and People:

  • Fresh City Farms, an urban farming business with a significant social impact.
  • Blue Planet Environmental - Nano-Bubble Generator Aeration Pilot (Spring 2014)
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Additional Information:

Fresh City Farms are an Urban Farming Icon in Toronto, Canada. They collectively farm over six acres in sites all over the Toronto area. Their home base is at Downsview Park, which is located in the geographical center of the Greater Toronto Area. To the many following their work it’s where they run workshops for Member Farmers and the public and where they come together to process the harvest. It is exactly here in a 3,000 square foot greenhouse space a partnership with WaterFarmers created the largest operating Aquaponic system in the Greater Toronto Area.

Although it was de-commissioned and converted to raised beds (due to tenure issues, the hoop-house was leased month to month and it didn't make sense to restock with new fingerlings), this system was a flagship WaterFarmers system, and was largest greenhouse aquaponic farm in the Greater Toronto Area. Providing season-independent crop growth in environmentally controlled greenhouses, the Fresh City system complemented the Fresh City Farms CSA produce with fresh, organic, out-of-season vegetables and greens. The high productivity of the unique WaterFarmers design based on ‘Nutrient Density” Flow of Control produces a variety of salad greens, herbs, tomatoes, and peppers. The systems was driven by a mean biomass of 500 lbs of Tilapia, and three harvest cycles were conducted with a total yield of approximately 1200 lbs.

Evan Bell, WaterFarmers Chief of Operations, at Fresh City Farms during system construction.

Evan Bell, WaterFarmers Chief of Operations, at Fresh City Farms during system construction.