Belvedere Farm Dublin
Following a pilot phase during 2014-16, the project won the prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2017. The associated grant provided funding for system upgrades with the aim of minimising inputs to the farm and maximising the efficiency of growing systems. A 6KwH PV solar system and Sonnen battery storage were installed so that the project’s energy requirements will be provided from renewable energy. The existing aquaponics system was replaced with purpose built tanks and vertical growing racks that minimise water usage and maximise the productivity of available space. LED lighting and environmental controls were added to allow for year-round growing and access stairs were constructed to provide for the expansion of the project to a new rooftop space.
The farm currently produces short, medium and long cycle crops such as microgreens, kale, strawberries and tomatoes. As fish stocks build up, students will also consider harvesting excess stock as an additional output. Other student projects on the farm include cultivating insects to feed the fish, building monitoring platforms for sensor technologies and experimenting with different business models for selling produce. Most importantly, however, students are responsible for maintaining the balance in a natural eco-system in the heart of Dublin city centre and promoting sustainability in food production as a key challenge facing their generation.