The food-oriented vision for the former Armory in New Rochelle calls for one feature that may be unfamiliar to many: An “aquaponic greenhouse.”
It’s a system suited for urban agriculture that raises food fish such as tilapia, bass and trout, as well as lettuce and other leafy greens in two parts that help sustain each other.
Generally, it works like this: The water from the fish pond, enriched with nutrients from fish waste, is fed into the crop beds, where it fertilizes the plants. That natural process filters the water, which is then sent back to the fish.
Descriptions of the systems call them examples of sustainable systems and say they use less water than might otherwise be used to raise crops.
The proposal for the Armory building, from a group called Good Profit, says the greenhouse on the grounds of the East Main Street building say it could serve as a “beacon for urban architecture.” The fish and crops grown there could be used in the restaurants or sold in the food booths in the building’s main area under a barrel vaulted ceiling.
Here’s an example of how it works at the Chicago State University.
The rival proposal for the Armory, from the city’s umbrella veterans’ organization and the group that lobbied to save the Armory when a wrecking ball threatened, would focus on performing arts in the core space, but would also include at least one restaurant, among other features.