Michael Timm, writing for the Bay View Compass, has an excellent writeup about Sweet Water “Organics,” the Bay View aquaponic farm that has proven to be long on claims of its viability and profitability but short on actual proof of either.
Sweet Water Organics, the Bay View aquaponics farm, is a media darling. But scrutiny of the local startup business, which angles to be a leader in a globally emerging urban agriculture industry, reveals a darker tale.
Last year, six employees departed the company, which wasn’t paying them and which they said wasn’t listening to them about how to make their systems more sustainable. Fish were dying. Greenhouses sat empty. The money, it seemed, had dried up. Then, with the help of Alderman Tony Zielinski, the city tossed Sweet Water and its skeleton crew a quarter-million-dollar life preserver. This year, back from the brink, the company is using that money to reinvent their systems based on the work of a Scottish aquaponics expert. These new outdoor systems, set to debut this month, once again dangle the lure of profitability.
Sweet Water’s critics believe passionately in aquaponics. They believe that good science results in efficient systems. But they remain unconvinced that the soul of their former company’s management has changed for the better. Has the enterprise finally turned a corner toward its goal of commercial viability, or do the missteps of the past portend ill for Sweet Water’s future?
The rest of Timm’s article is worth a read, and you can find our coverage of Sweet Water “Organics” HERE.