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Solutions Farms Opens Social Enterprise Aquaponic Venture


Complete with a ribbon cutting, nonprofit organization Solutions for Change officially opened its Solutions Farms aquaponics facility in Vista.


The public was invited to attend the ribbon cutting, held at the farm off of La Rueda Road. Community and business leaders, as well as members of the Solutions board and leadership team, joined in celebrating this milestone event.


Solutions Farms is a unique social enterprise that will play an important role in fulfilling the vision of Solutions for Change to solve family homelessness in North County, one family and one community at a time. The farm will offer job training in a wide variety of marketable skills, create a substantial source of locally grown produce for restaurants and markets, and generate income that can be re-invested in Solutions’ programs.


The farm project has received enthusiastic endorsement from a wide variety of community supporters, including San Diego-headquartered and leading North American seafood brand Bumble Bee Foods. President and CEO Chris Lischewski has committed sponsorship funds on behalf of Bumble Bee to provide start-up capital for the farm project. Mike Kraft, director of corporate social responsibility at Bumble Bee Foods, attended the ceremony and expressed Bumble Bee’s dedication to the project.


Aquaponics is a closed-loop system in which nutrient-enriched water that hosts fish is circulated beneath rafts of produce, creating a highly efficient, soil-less ecosystem that combines high yields with a minimal environmental impact.


The Solutions system will initially raise salad greens and Tilapia, a fast-growing and tasty fish. Additional capacity and types of produce will be added as the venture expands. The initial harvest will take place in late August, and greens from Solutions Farms will be served as part of the dinner at Solutions’ annual fundraiser — An Evening to Remember, with Rudy Giuliani — to be held September 22.


“We’re pleased and proud to have developed this pioneering venture,” says Solutions president and executive director Chris Megison. “It will serve the community by providing farm-fresh, locally grown produce, while fulfilling the community’s desire that we continue creating the access to skills, knowledge, and resources that families need to permanently solve their homelessness.


“Our partnership with Bumble Bee Foods, and support of many individuals, foundations and businesses is making this happen,” Megison says. “A year ago, it was an idea. [Now] it becomes a reality.” (760/941-6545, www.solutionsforchange.org)


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