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Aquaponic Farming For The Future

As Singapore commits to producing nearly a third of its own food by 2030, one luxury hotel group is leading the way with aquaponics. 

At the Fairmont Singapore's ground-breaking aquaponics garden

If you order the superfood salad at the Fairmont Singapore’s The Eight restaurant, the leaves will have been grown without soil, fertilised only using the waste of healthy, organic-fed fish, and all grown, picked and delivered with zero carbon footprint, on the hotel's fifth floor.

In the near future, if you order certain fish dishes, they will likely be made using those very same fish which have nourished the plants.

Last month Fairmont Singapore and neighbouring sister hotel, Swissôtel The Stamford, launched the industry’s first urban aquaponics garden in efforts to meet what they say has been rising demand among guests for fresh quality produce.

By August they hope that the 450 square metre aquaponics farm will meet an estimated 30 percent of vegetable needs across the hotels each month, and 10 percent of fresh fish, which equates to a yield of an estimated 1,200kg of vegetables and 350kg of fish. 

The adoption of this circular system is an important step for the luxury hotel industry, which is known for being one of the most wasteful. It also coincides with Singapore's government target of producing 30 per cent of the city-state's nutritional needs by 2030, to improve food security and reduce emissions. Singapore to date imports more than 90 per cent of its food – but there is a growing realisation our environment must be protected in densely built cities.

Aquaponics combines aquaculture – the growing of fish and other aquatic life – with hydroponics, which is growing plants without soil. It is a sustainable, pesticide-free solution to traditional methods with substantially higher yields while requiring less water, space and labour. It is a sustainable method in which a full meal can be grown, in just one system.

Fish and vegetables grow together in an integrated system – fish waste is converted to nitrates, which the vegetables use as fertilizers; while the latter filter and clean the water for the fish, lowering the consumption of water as compared to soil gardening.

A newly-designed suite at Fairmont Singapore

The Fairmont Singapore, designed in 1986 by the late architect I.M. Pei, has also recently renovated a number of its guest suites and rooms in the South Tower. New designs were carried out in partnership with the award-winning Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) and make the rooms feel richly grand; dark wall tones, black laquer touches, whisky hues and a leather headboarded bed with phenomenal views of the city sky-line.

In keeping with the hotel's pursuit towards sustainable luxury, each room is fitted with a Swisspro filtered water dispenser. First in the Fairmont family to do so, the hotel will significantly limit the use of plastic in the form of traditional bottled water.