SDARL CLASS XI International Seminar Day 10 in Belgium – Aquaponic Farm, Fish Farm, & Chocolate


SDARL CLASS XI International Seminar on Innovation and Globalization in Agriculture toured – Ferme Abattoir – Brussels Aquaponic Farm , Outdoor Garden, Fish Farming Greenhouse and Outdoor Garden

We started the day’s adventure by touring the BIGH Urban Farm in the Brussels Aquaponic Farm, built in the heart of Brussels in the Canal Priority on the roof of the Foodmet (a food market designed by ORG architects, on the historic site of the Abattoirs in Anderlect.)  Their organizational goal is to build a network of urban farming in major cities around the world. It was noted that it took just over a year to develop the Brussels Aquaponics Farm with work beginning in 2017 with the first gardening trials being carried out in 2016, with the greenhouse and fish farm being completed in 2018.

Striving to achieve technical synergies, the fish farm is the only one in Brussels and strives to produce 23 tons of rainbow trout a year. The Urban Farm provides circulating well water with a stable temperature to promote growth and is rich with nutrients and helps fertilize their hydro-pic systems as well as the outdoor garden. Their good fish farming practices includes:

  • Taking care of micro-organisms so they don’t tolerate chemicals or antibiotics and utilizes specialized organic feeds and specific light levels.
  • Outdoor gardens planting and harvesting vegetables.
  • Practicing good habits: zero chemicals and antibiotics saving billions of microoganisms,
  • Fish food: fish and plant-based pellets, certified sustainable and without GMO’s, treatment control of water, light levels and food security, fish sorting systems, and improving animal welfare.

SDARL Class XI toured a BIGH, a huge greenhouse of aquaponics in Brussels producing herbs, tomatoes and other vegetables in in three horticultural areas over 2150 sq. ft. This greenhouse is naturally pollinated by bumble bees. Biological pest control methods are used to manage possible diseases. They don’t use any chemicals or pesticides. They also have a 7500 sq ft. roof top outdoor garden that started in 2016 and has grown to almost 22,000 sq ft. of cultivation today. They are extremely proud to be the largest productive rooftop garden in Europe today. Brussels is at the forefront of new agricultural techniques on the rooftops and truly want to achieve economic viability.

Afternoon Tour – Concept Chocolate – Certified Belgian Craftsmanship – Brussels

Filled with enthusiasm and energy Concept Chocolate Speaker – Steffen stated that since its creation in 1986, the chocolate factory Concept Chocolate is renowned for its high quality Belgian Artisanal Chocolate. They receive 16,000 visits per year to their factory. They have six employees that harvest the cocoa plants by hand. They harvest and process them twice a year. Leading exporters of Chocolate include Belgium and Switzerland. The Top Domestic Consumption comes from Switzerland, Belgium and Ireland with the USA coming in 15th.

Confectionary consumption leaders are Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
The Processing includes:

  • Step 1 – Cocoa Beans – Cleaning, fermenting, shelling, roasting and winnowing.
  • Step 2 – Roasted Nibs – Grinding & Refining.
  • Step 3 – Mass/Liquor – Pressing – Into cocoa cake for cocoa powder or cocoa butter or mixing, grinding and conching into dark, milk or white chocolate.

SDARL Class XI members were provided with their choice of these fresh chocolate treats.

If you’re interested in experiencing your own International Seminar, apply for SDARL Class XII before applications close on March 20.


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