As industries grow, change, or disappear, new innovations grow up to take their place—often reusing spaces and architecture in unexpected ways.

Think about the Gooderham and Worts buildings of Toronto’s Distillery District: once the largest distillery in the world, the imposing Victorian industrial complex now finds new life as a shopping/theatre/arts centre.

And while you might expect a city like Toronto to support a new arts community—after all, theatre and the arts are hallmarks of every great city—farms and cities haven’t really gone hand-hand-in.

Until now.

We came across this article in the Houston Chronicle this week, outlining an interesting new use for a once-bustling stockyard in the heart of Chicago’s meat-packing district: a company called 312 Aquaponics using an old meat packing plant as a home base for a new kind of agriculture called aquaponics.

Aquaponics (also known as recirculating aquaculture) is a symbiotic, virtually closed-loop system: fish are raised in large tanks, their nutrient-rich waste is used to fertilize plants like lettuce, herbs, and strawberries. The water is filtered naturally by the plants, and is then fed back into the fish tanks.

The system uses less than 5% of the water that’s required by more traditional farming methods, and its relative small size and suitability for indoor use makes it an ideal solution for making fresh food and fish available locally.

Neat, huh?

We highlighted Aqua Vita Farms, another aquaponics company in Syracuse, NY, a few months ago, and, with this recent article, it seems that this type of urban farming is starting to catch on.

What do you think? Is there a future for aquaponics in Canadian markets?

Image credit: Agriculturasp