About

BIGH Vision

We want to see a change in food production, where technology, sustainable practices and local people come together to create a food system that works for consumers, producers and the environment.

We want people to not only have access to local food, but also connect with food production at the heart of the city.

We think urban food production is complementary to peri-urban and rural agriculture by further expanding networks of partners and producers. We believe that urban farming is an effective demonstration of circular economy.

We think urban agriculture is complementary to peri-urban and rural agriculture, including networks of partners and producers. We promote the role of urban farming as an effective demonstration of circular economy.

BIGH Mission

Our mission is to create sustainable farms which work in synergy with existing buildings by using their loss of energy, rainwater, CO2 and natural potential for space, orientation, microclimate and solar exposure. Our farms are circular systems. They are designed to minimise waste and energy input and have a positive environmental impact. Farms are an obvious implementation of circular economy: optimised and aiming at reaching zero waste.

In our farms we use cradle-to-cradle and non-toxic materials. Tolerance zero for chemical pesticides, antibiotics, GMO results of the transparent nature of Aquaponic farming.

The bio- filter enables us to not only produce high-quality nutrients for fruits and vegetables growth, but also enables us to save significant amount of water. The Brussels Aquaponic farm is pioneering Europe’s building integrated intensive and commercial farming model.

BIGH is more than ever aware of food quality concerns and can bring through short distribution channels, the freshest and tastiest produce to urban dwellers and chefs’ tables. BIGH’s farms also create jobs, generate income & boost green urban entrepreneurship. BIGH also emphasizes on working with social enterprises and local actors.

History

BIGH was founded in 2015, inspired by Steven Beckers, Cradle-to-Cradle accredited architect and co- founder of Lateral Thinking Factory consultancy which has been supporting the implementation of circular economy in the real estate sector for years.

After conducting a variety of studies in 2015 for the Brussels Capital Region on the potential for urban farming, LTFc received many demands and was pressured to find operators. Though this task was proved to be difficult, as urban farming operators where very rare at the time. With technical support from EFC Farmsystems, a commercial business model based on building integrated aquaponics where the buildings support the agriculture and vice versa.

In 2016, enthusiastic financial partners and technical and commercial collaborators gathered to develop the BIGH model and build the first farm of the BIGH farms network: the Brussel Aquaponic Farm

On January 2018, following 4 months of design and permitting supported by ORG architects, 7 months of construction work, the Brussel Aquaponic Farm was ready for commercial operations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of April 2018, the farm opens officially and will become accessible for public on demand visits while first products will be commercialized from May 2018 in the Brussels Capital region.

In December 2018,  the “Bar de Bruxelles ” was launched with a big party that brought together experts in the sector, producers and journalists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2020, taking advantage of the health crisis which heavily impacted our main fish consumers, it was decided to make modifications to our recirculating aquaculture system and welcome a new, more promising species: the rainbow trout.

The first Brussels Trout are expected to be on the market in the summer of 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BIGH aquaponics system; A closed two-loop circuit

Aquaponics Explained

At BIGH we strongly believe in aquaponics, which is why we want to use this production method in all our farms. Aquaponics is the combination of hydroponics, which is above ground soilless farming, with recirculating aquaculture, a water saving fish and seafood production method.

In BIGH’s aquaponic farms, fish and plants are kept separate, in a decoupled systems.

The benefit of aquaponics is that it converts aquaculture waste into nutrients for horticulture. The fish waste is treated in our biofilter and the enriched water is fed to the plants in the greenhouses, so we can reduce fish farming waste and use almost no other fertiliser for our vegetables!

Business development

BIGH aims to develop a European network of urban farms that work in synergy with buildings and integrate food production in circular economy initiatives.

While one farm is already beneficial, multiple farms can accelerate the development of circular food production.

BIGH focuses on urban sites with a gross production area between 2,500 m² and 3,000 m² or more.

If you are considering investing in BIGH’s business development, or think you have a suitable site, please contact Steven Beckers using the button below.

The greenhouse under construction