CA (VN): Aquaponics firm eyes a green future, with lentils in starring role

After a year of research and development on Vancouver Island, and a crowdfunding campaign that reached $750,000, a new agri-tech company is preparing to significantly expand its footprint and hit the market with a plant protein. Pontus Water Lentils, which has been doing research and development at a test farm run by Victoria’s Garden City Aquaponics, has developed an aquaponics system — a hybrid of aquaculture and hydroponics — to produce water lentils. It says those lentils pack an unrivalled protein punch. 

Chief technology officer and co-founder Steve McArthur said Pontus has developed a grow and harvest system which, when installed in a new facility, will be capable of producing 100 metric tonnes of water lentils. McArthur, who also founded Garden City Aquaponics, said the plan is to build a new 10,000 square foot facility for the closed-cycle system. It will also grow and nurture rainbow trout — the fish waste is converted by microbes into fertilizer for water plants, which in turn filter the water for the fish. “It’s a grown-in-Victoria business,” said McArthur. They are considering sites for the facility in Langford or on the Lower Mainland. 

He said the water lentils grown in the facility would be dried and turned into about 6.4 metric tonnes of protein powder that can be used as a supplement for protein shakes, a partial ingredient replacement in foods such as pasta, or to be used in manufacturing food such as protein bars and beverages. The company intends to package the powder for sale to grocery stores and find partners to produce a line of products packed with the protein-rich powder, while the fish will be sold to local grocery stores and restaurants.

Read more at Times Colonist (Andrew Duffy)

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