Aquaponics: a positive impact circular economy approach to feeding cities

Bassins d’élevage des poissons sur le site Abattoir © BIGH-isopix

Steven Beckers, Founder of BIGH (Building Integrated GreenHouses), C2C-certified architect, Lecturer and visiting professor at the Brussels Faculty of Engineering

The Abattoir Farm, BIGH’s first full-scale production site, was set up in 2015 on the roof of Foodmet, a food market in the Abattoir neighborhood in the Anderlecht district of Brussels. Designed to positive impact circular economy principles, the project leverages numerous synergies between the farm, the building housing it, the district and the wider city.

The aquaponic production system, linking fish-farming tanks to greenhouses for growing plants, recreates a natural ecosystem in an artificial environment. It produces minimal waste, requires limited energy inputs and delivers positive impacts to the environment. It also provides city consumers with year-round access to quality, locally sourced products (tomatoes, fish, herbs and berries). With Abattoir Farm, BIGH is advocating for a productive urban agriculture with an economic model reliant primarily on the sale of produce. The aim is to duplicate the model elsewhere in Belgium and Europe.