How We Do It

Step 1:  Vertical Farming

“We’re reducing space and using the canvas that Buffalo already has which is a lot of vacant warehouses and manufacturing space—we’re using the assets we already have.” – Mike Zak, Co-Founder of Gro-op

From floor to ceiling, we have our own little forest.

What is vertical farming? We use vertical farming because there’s isn’t a whole lot of horizontal space in urban locations. Vertical farming uses tall spaces indoors to maximize the amount of produce instead of horizontal space like outdoor conventional farms. We fill originally empty buildings in our hometown, Buffalo, with large shelving units of plants on every level from the floor to the ceiling. With vertical farming, we can produce more plants than a conventional farm because our plants grow twice as fast in a quarter of the space.

Step 2:  Hydroponics

Imagine if you could only drink your food in a watery substance that had everything a human could need…that’s what nutrient-dense water does for our plants! Our vertical farms use hydroponics, a method of growing plants by running nutrient-dense water over their roots without soil, so our plants get all of the nutrients they need without breaking down soil like conventional farm plants. Because our plants don’t have to work very hard, they can devote all their energy into growing, metabolizing, and being delicious!


Step 3:  Aquaponics

Our fish are happy, fed, and living the good life.

What is aquaponics? Aquaponics in the combination/hybridization of hydroponics and aquaculture. Aquaculture is growing fish in a controlled environment. Our version of this is growing fish indoors in large containers, rearing the fish from baby size to full size. With aquaponics, we’re taking the best of both worlds by using sustainable growing methods and giving the fish a healthy environment to live in.

The Power of Duckweed

Ever heard of this mighty plant? Duckweed is a floating plant that grows in stagnant ponds and breaks down leafy material and waste. It’s also an excellent source of food for our fish. With the power of duckweed, we’re taking the excess fish waste and growing fish food with it, and any waste we use is reusable and composted.

We’re up for the challenge.

Q : How do we as a society feed an urban environment that isn’t extractive?

A: Instead of taking from the earth and making a lot of waste, we take waste that other people and beings create and make food out of it. In our system, we can create the necessary protein and fresh produce to have a good diet in a local environment. 

75% of the world relies on oceans for protein and simultaneously overfishing is killing our oceans.

Overfishing is caused by big nets that kill everything else in its way and technically, people are supposed to eat fish only one day out of the month due to mercury levels. But like we said, we’re taking on the challenge: The way we grow our fish involves no heavy metals, mercury, and no toxic chemicals. So you’re not going to get poisoned and can eat as much as you want! Fish fries anyone? 

Putting It All Together


A Recap of Aquaponic Life: 

  1. We harvest the ‘mess’ from our fish.
  2. We feed our plants with the fish waste.
  3. Our plants clean the fish water, and the cycle begins again!

Our Results: Less Waste, More Delicious Food.

We locally supply all nutritional needs for our own population.

We use 80% less nutrients and 90% less water than a conventional farm which is HUGE.

We just made all of our electricity solar so all of our energy is renewable.

We’re close to being a 0% operation!

Like what we do & want us to keep doing it? Connect with us here to donate, partner, or invest.

Eat Like You Live In The Future.

Get your Home Aquaponics system today!

Send us a message and we’ll send you a quote so we can make your vertical farming dreams a reality. We even teach you how to use it and creative ways to install aquaponics systems right in your home or backyard.