Back in November we launched the Green Games, our annual business sustainability competition that culminates in the Green Natties Awards Ceremony coming this May. Since all of our members are doing great work to reduce their environmental and social impacts, we believe they should be recognized by the community for these efforts during a special evening of awards, music, food and more.
To provide some inspiration, we thought we’d give you all a little peek into what some successful green businesses around you are doing. This month, we sat down with Kevin Morgan-Rothschild of AMPS to discuss the ins and outs of aquaponic agriculture.
Here’s what we found out:
AMPS, short for Aquaponic Modular Production Systems, was founded 2 years ago by a group of (then) Tulane undergraduate students. AMPS joined the LifeCity network in the summer of 2012. The small startup uses aquaponic, hydroponic, and aeroponic automated recirculating farms to grow high yields of fresh produce for several retailers around the city. These innovative urban farming techniques have enabled AMPS to convert some pretty unorthodox locations (like the rooftop of your local grocery store) into productive agricultural land while requiring as little as 5 percent of the water that is needed for conventional agricultural practices.
Morgan-Rothschild currently manages Rouses “Roots on the Rooftop” program, which utilizes vertical aeroponic Tower Gardens(TM) fed by collected rain water to grow the fresh parsley, basil, and cilantro that is sold in the supermarket below. He can also frequently be found at Hollygrove Market where he gives regular demonstrations of AMPS aquaponic farming technology.
Kevin and his coworkers are still working through the kinks of hydroponic farming, but AMPS is constantly looking for innovative ways to reduce their environmental impact.
One challenge that AMPS recently addressed as a part of the Green Games was a transition from rockwool growing media to a less expensive and more energy-efficient coco coir alternative. While rockwool media cubes require a substantial amount of energy to produce and cannot be reused, coco coir is an organic, reusable material produced from coconut husks.
The folks at AMPS have big goals for the future of the company. Plans to develop a commercial aeroponic farm are already in the works; however, AMPS is still seeking an appropriate location for the farm and seed money. In the mean time, keep an eye out for AMPS produce at locations around the city, including the rooftop garden at the downtown Rouses.
Keep up the great work AMPS and don’t forget to reach for your goals over the next few months of the Green Games!