Bluegrass - Project status and events 2019


During the project, the Bluegrass team assessed the potential demand for aquaponics products and in parallel established two working groups made up of technicians from the aquaculture and horticulture sectors. These groups provided recommendations for the construction of the two pilot plants, built in the first year of work. These plants were inaugurated in Koper and Porcia in December 2018 and are currently used to define production management and monitoring models and to study the sustainability of this technique.
During 2019 numerous activities were carried out with target groups of citizens, with the aim of making aquaponics more and more known to consumers, of discussing the technical aspects with producers and identifying, together with workers, the possible professional paths linked to the development of this business.

The most important events were:

  • We participated in the most important fair of the sector in Italy, held in Pordenone on the last 13 and 14 February 2019: Aquafarm / Novelfarm. In this context, the Bluegrass team organized an entire session dedicated to aquaponics, full of international guests;
  • Workshop dedicated to new integrated productions: on April 15, 2019, researchers, producers and institutions met around the theme of aquaponics development at the Lead Partner's headquarters in Venice;
  • Various targets on the rise: thanks to an effective action for the recruitment of new stakeholders by the staff of Shoreline Cooperative Society and KZ Agraria, now the potential participants are 186 in Italy and 102 in Slovenia, including the productive sectors, but also consumers, students and teachers;
  • Technical Tables with producers via the web: from the first appointments of 2018, the stakeholders continued the participatory path also through the responses to Google Forms, connecting via QR codes distributed both at the Aquafarm fair and at the September events;
  • Second Multi-episode Technical Table: after the presentation of case studies by young entrepreneurs in aquaponics on February 27, 2019, two trips open to citizens were organized by three of the project partners with what has been nicknamed “Aquaponic bus ”To visit the experimental plants: 23 October in Koper and 14 November in Porcia;
  • The most awaited Workshop: it was the one on existing regulations in hydroponics and aquaculture and on the possible future of those pertinent to aquaponics, organized by Shoreline s.c. in Palmanova on 19 September 2019;
  • The GAS and the mayor visiting the Porcia plant: the joint purchasing groups present in the Pordenone area (GASPITA Pordenone and GAP / Podere al popolo) together with the representatives of Rigenera SOcial Innovation and Beijing Adriatic Consultancy Co. Ltd, concurrently with the presence of the newly elected mayor of Porcia Marco Sartini and the European Policies Manager Federica Brazzafolli;
  • The Trieste GAS at Knulp: in the city center, in a place that is also a hub for the promotion of innovative and alternative issues, representatives of the joint purchasing groups from the province of Trieste met; subsequently, a presentation open to the public was organized on 21 October 2019.
  • Showcooking and blind tests in Slovenia: tastings were organized at the KZ Agraria points of sale on 30 and 31 August with products from the field and aquaponics thanks to the collaboration with Chef Darko Klemen of Masterchef Slovenja and a blind was organized comparison test on the field salad against the aquaponic one on the occasion of the Halloween party, which showed that there are no differences between the 2 products;
  • Didactic activities for more than 400 students in Italy and Slovenia: lessons were conducted in the classroom for primary and secondary schools in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region and for primary schools and technical institutes in Slovenia, followed by guided visits to plants with active laboratories, all managed by Shoreline sc and KZ Agraria with a shared teaching module.
  • Activities with university students or future workers: workshops were held to present the technology at the two universities involved, and a discussion was started with the students, aimed at planning the structure and contents of an aquaponics training module;

During the whole of 2019, the Bluegrass partners collected new observations to outline the functioning models of the aquaponics pilot plants to characterize their environmental sustainability. These data will be useful both in the planning phase of new investments (business plan and sizing of the plants), and as a support to company management. In particular, the partners are implementing agreed monitoring plans for environmental parameters, water quality, growth rates and plant productivity. Furthermore, an analysis called life cycle assessment is being completed on the sample productions made, in order to quantitatively assess its environmental sustainability.