Canadian cannabis producer uses fish waste to fertilize crops

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A Canadian producer based in Ontario is using a unique method of fertilizing their crops that seems a little fishy.

Green Relief, located in Puslinch, Ontario, operates an aquaponics farm that uses filtered fish waste to fertilize their crops. In turn, the crops clean the water for the fish.

The facility is entirely underground with the exception of the ventilation equipment that sticks out of the ground. Green Relief says they are currently the only producer using aquaponics for marijuana production.

“We’re the only medical cannabis provider in the world that’s producing by way of aquaponics, considered the most innovative and sustainable form of agriculture,” the website reads. “Aquaponics combines the best attribute of aquaculture and hydroponics, without the need to discard water or add chemical fertilizers. It produces 10 times the crop yield per acre and uses 90% less water than conventional farming.”  

The farm raises approximately 6,000 tilapia that fertilize their 4,500 plants. In an effort to give back to their community, one of the 16 tilapia tanks are purged every fifth week and the fish are donated to an organization called Second Harvest, a charity that brings the tilapia to a homeless shelter.

“This is the agriculture of the future,” said Warren Bravo, co-founder of Green Relief. “If you’re not latching on to sustainable agriculture technologies now, you’re going to be a dinosaur.”

Bravo is a former concrete contractor and founded the company with his friend Steve LeBlanc in 2013. He acted as the company’s CEO but gave the position on an interim basis to John Durfy in January. Bravo is still a majority shareholder and the director of business development. He is spending his time securing properties in both Australia and Italy. He’s also working on a joint-venture with Ai Fame and Ai Lab in Switzerland.

“Canada’s in a very fortunate position right now,” Bravo said. “We get to take the lead in a brand new industry.”

Green Relief is currently working on their expansion in an area outside of Hamilton as well as their new managing and packaging operations inside of Hamilton. They are also in the process of building facilities in Thunder Bay, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia along with partners. The company says that each facility will produce 20,000 kg per year.

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