When communities band together to improve the quality of life, great things happen. There’s no better example than the UMD’s Center for Sustainable Community Development (CSCD) at UMD partnering with community leaders and citizens in Silver Bay, Minn., to create Victus Farms: a green business where research and education is applied at a 9,000 square-foot facility in Minnesota’s Eco-industrial Park in Silver Bay. The integrated fish, plant and algal production system is producing jobs as well as healthy food and clean energy.
“Water is sent into troughs where the plants grow with food provided by the fish,” said Dr. Michael Mageau, UMD assistant professor of environmental studies. “The water then flows into an algae trough where it further takes the nutrients out of the water and re-oxygenates it. The water is then returned to the fish.”
Victus Farms and the symbiotic relationship between plants, water, and fish has accomplished several things. First, the fish and produce are harvested 2-3 times per week. They are delivered to restaurants in Duluth, Lutsen, and Grand Marais. At full production, they harvest 432 heads of lettuce, 50-pounds of basil, and many pounds of greens and arugula every week.
Second, the system is fully sustainable, simple, and innovative. Victus Farm has garnered a great deal of attention nationally and internationally; presenting to the entire world an example of a green business supporting a local economy.
And lastly, Victus Farms is a perfect portrait of a community partnership between UMD and Silver Bay by improving the 21st century by lessening the negative environmental footprint that often coincides with business success.
Interested in learning more about Victus Farms? Check out this video!