French designer Mathieu Lehanneur thinks we should all be farming fish and fruit in our living rooms.
There is a growing craze for home-grown foods, he says, pointing specifically to the Locavores, a group who appeared in San Francisco in 2005 and define themselves as “a group of culinary adventurers who eat foods produced in a radius of 100 miles around their city”.
Targeting this group of people, Lehanneur has created the Local River, a home storage unit for live freshwater fish combined with a mini vegetable patch. He says: “This DIY fish-farm-cum-kitchen-garden is based on the principle of aquaponics coupled with the exchange and interdependence of two living organisms – plants and fish.
“The plants extract nutrients from the nitrate-rich waste of the fish. In doing so they act as a natural filter that purifies the water and maintains a vital balance for the eco-system in which the fish live. … In this scenario, fish and greens cohabit for a short time in a home storage unit before being eaten by their keepers, the end-players in an exchange cycle within a controlled ecosystem.”
The fish tank will be suitable for farm-raised freshwater fish including trout, eel, perch and carp, says the designer. This, he says, could help protect “dwindling supplies of many saltwater species”, although he might have to step up the scale if he wants to save the cod.
That’s not impossible: the technology is already used on a large scale aquaponics/fish-farms, including the Tropenhaus Frutigen project in Switzerland, which is farming both sturgeon for caviar and tropical fruit.