Local Loop Farms is a community agriculture start-up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. Their mission is to build locally sustainable food and waste systems that enhance the social, economic, and environmental well-being of communities.
The Local Loop Farm is a two-acre sustainable agriculture module designed to work in symbiosis with its surrounding community. The design mimics a natural ecosystem by raising animal, plant, and bacterial species that can consume nutrients from each other’s biological wastes. The system relies on an agriculture technique called aquaponics, which combines aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants in water instead of soil). Waste from the fish in the system is used as a fertilizer to grow produce for human consumption and spirulina algae for fish feed production. Pre- and post-consumer food wastes are upcycled through composting with black soldier fly larvae (BSFL), and adult flies then become part of the fish feed. Agricultural and yard wastes are upcycled through aerobic composting into a valuable fertilizer.
The Local Loop Farm is a highly cost-effective means of food production. By avoiding waste generation, the design eliminates disposal costs while protecting the environment. Energy costs remain low because the design takes advantage of multiple renewable energy sources: aerobic compost energy for water heating and solar panels for electricity. Rainwater collection reduces the water bill while conserving resources. In the aquaculture industry, feed costs comprise an average of 50 percent of annual expenses, and the cost of traditional fish meal-based feeds continues to increase as ocean fisheries are depleted. By using feed that is produced sustainably on-site, the Local Loop drastically cuts that cost while reducing its environmental impact. Using proven technologies and innovative integration, the Local Loop Farm can contribute to local well-being by reducing waste and providing fresh, affordable foods to the community.