Bordeaux, France-based indoor farming company Les Nouvelles Fermes announced today it has raised €2 million (~$2.4 million USD) to build what it’s calling the largest aquaponic farm in Europe. EU Startups was first to write about the news. The round included participation from IRDI, the Banque des Territoires, Crédit Agricole Aquitaine and the CIC. This is Les Nouvelles Fermes first round of funding.
The new farm, dubbed “Odette,” will launch at the end of 2021 in the Bordeaux Metropolitan area. Like Les Nouvelles Fermes’ current farm, also in Bordeaux, Odette will use a closed-circuit aquaponics system to grow both vegetables and fish.
Aquaponics combines raising fish in tanks with growing produce via hydroponics. Nutrient-rich discharge from the fish is fed to the plants, which then can clean the water that goes back to the fish, creating an entirely closed-loop system.
“Pauline,” Les Nouvelles Fermes’ current farm, grows a mixture of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to raising rainbow trout. The forthcoming Odette will do the same. EU Startups noted that the company’s object in opening a new farm is to “to validate an operating model and then reproduce it in the immediate vicinity of the major urban centres in France and Europe, with the possibility to restore abandoned land, while creating agricultural occupations.”
Closed-loop systems like Pauline and Odette aren’t yet widespread in the indoor farming community yet. However, given the many sustainability issues around both fishing and farming, that may change as technologies get cheaper and a little more standardized. Upward Farms, based in Brooklyn, New York, is another company producing fish and leafy greens via a closed-loop system.
Along those lines, Les Nousvelles Fermes plans to duplicate its model and technology on a much larger scale in future. The company has already signed a partnership with the company Orange to further develop its technological solution.