Introduction

Welcome to our most ambitious mission yet!

We are Trifecta Ecosystems. We started as an aquaponics farm in Connecticut 6 years ago. We sold our produce to our local community, and received a lot of interest from those interested in learning how to grow food using aquaponics. Over the years, we worked with other local farmers, schools, and nonprofits to create aquaponics systems that fit each of their unique needs.

We are launching the City that Feeds Itself to highlight that we are more than an aquaponics farm. In fact, our true value offerings lay in cultivating thriving ecosystems. This includes working alongside other producers in soil-based agriculture, hydroponics and aquaculture. As well as providers in other industries to accelerate the development of a sustainable food economy.

In order to create the City that Feeds Itself, different parts need to come together and work in a symbiotic way to meet the food demands of an entire city. We need to empower a new wave of hidden farmers, already living in cities, to produce food for themselves and for their communities. The first major hurdle for this mission is bringing farms into the city itself and ending a reliance on food that is grown thousands of miles away. Not only is this current model extremely insecure, it also makes it difficult for those in cities to have reliable access to fresh, local, and nutritious foods. According to the USDA Census, the United States has lost 40 million acres of farmland over the past 15 years! With urbanization on the rise, we can only expect this number to continue increasing as cities bulldoze our world’s fertile soil. Cities themselves are incapable of utilizing traditional farming methods for this very reason: a lack of available and farmable soil. But that is all about to change!

With the advent of new growing techniques, like aquaponics, we no longer need large plots of fertile soil to grow large volumes of fresh food. In fact, we don’t need any soil at all! Farms of the future will be in warehouses new and old, rooftops, basements, lobbies of buildings, classrooms, and just about anywhere there is extra space and access to power and water. By leveraging together all these available spaces in the city we can create the economies of scale to meet and exceed the production needed to feed the residents of a city.

Unfortunately, it will take more than just a creative use of underutilized spaces in the city to grow all of its food requirements. Just because we have all of this space does not mean we will be able to grow all the food we need. For starters, who is going to grow all this food? Current farmers are not likely to just up and abandon their fields, homes, and livelihoods to become city dwellers and learn a whole new style of farming. Instead, we need to inspire a new generation of people to become farmers, growers, and producers of food for their communities within cities. We’ll also see a shift in the image and definition of what a farmer is as new technologies like aquaponics empower those who previously were not capable of growing food to grow large volumes of high-quality food in small spaces all throughout the city.

We identified several hidden farmer groups that we believe will lead the way in growing their own food using methods like aquaponics. Empowering these groups to grow, providing the platform for them to sell and distribute what they grow, and connecting them directly to consumers in the city will become the foundation to creating the City that Feeds Itself.

Over the past few years, we conducted extensive customer discovery and worked with many different types of growers. We found a few common values across a number of these groups, including education, therapy and healing, skills and job training, social integration, and research. Schools use aquaponics for educational, skill training, and research, which gives students an incredible experiential learning tool for critical STEM subjects. The intellectual and developmentally disability-focused organizations use aquaponics for therapeutic farming, skill-training, and social integration, while providing a valuable and respected service for the community. There are so many groups of hidden farmers that exist in every city and derive some sort of valuable or benefit from farming. When these groups are equipped with aquaponics and controlled environment agriculture technology and then trained how to use them, they are empowered to grow food for their community while reaping the rewards of farming. As more and more of these groups start growing, the City that Feeds Itself arises.

We’re excited to officially embark on this journey with communities around the world! Stay tuned to learn more about how we and others are joining together to plant cities that feed themselves. 

Spencer Curry

Co-founder & CEO, Trifecta Ecosystems

Alexandra BerrioComment