Meriden, Conn. (WTNH) - A new project in Meriden is copying mother nature in order to produce food and jobs for some special Connecticut residents.
Hydroponics is growing plants without soil in nutrient rich water, and aquaculture is what we commonly call fish farming.
"You combine the two together and you use your fish to provide the fertilizer for the plants and the plants, in turn, filter that water for the fish," explained Steve Fields.
The plants grow much faster than they would in a regular garden and they can be planted closer together for a larger yield.
"The nutrients from the fish, they're transformed into nitrates, which is the source of plant food that they really love," Fields explained, "so they're fed exactly what they need, every forty minutes."
It's a project of the Arc of Meriden where 19 Connecticut citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities have operated a successful deli and catering service for the past four years called the Arc Eatery.
The Arc Eatery does a brisk business at lunch and they cater to all the businesses in Meriden's Research Parkway industrial park.
Eventually they will do all the planting and harvesting. When a larger greenhouse is built, the comets in the tanks will be replaced by either Tilapia or trout that can be used on the menu at the eatery.
The facility was built with money that was donated.
Arc of Meriden is planning to use the vegetables in the Arc Eatery and sell them at the local farmers market.
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