NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One Bronx business is farming fish in a trash can and the owners want others to follow their lead.
Bronx Best Blue Tilapia is what Christopher Toole calls the fish he sells at his South Bronx business. Raised for food, the small ones live in traditional glass fish tanks, but the larger ones thrive in garbage bins.
“They like the depth, they like the 3 or 4 feet deep. When they get big, they want to sink away into the dark,” Toole told CBS 2’s Elise Finch. “They prefer that when they’re larger, it keeps them calm. They’re happier to grow faster that way.”
The urban farmer said even though they’re marketed as trash cans, the food-grade plastic containers are perfect for fish as long as they’ve never actually held any trash.
Toole and his partner, Anya Pozdeeva, chose to sell Tilapia because they’re hearty and easy for people to raise. The duo also sells edible plants, which are aided by the nutrient-rich fish water.
“They get your plants to grow really, really fast. If you link that together with some pumps, then the plants will also clean the water for the fish. So it becomes a cycle — just like nature,” Toole said.
The couple believes that growing plants and fish in recirculating water systems is crucial for a sustainable future.
“I think we’re talking about sustainability on the level of family. Each family can grow their own food, which they know is clean, they know exactly what they want to grow and it’s right there,” Pozdeeva said. “Kids can eat better, people can be healthier.”
“That’s the right thing to do, rest the oceans and grow our own,” Toole said.
According to the couple, the supplies needed to start growing your own plants and fish cost less than $200 — garbage bin included.
If you buy some of the Bronx Best Blue Tilapia, it will take roughly nine months for them to grow large enough to eat.
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