Aquaponic Farming in downtown Toledo featuring Balance Farms in Toledo has been awarded the 2021 Flourish Prize for Global Goal No. 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
The winning company profile was written by Lee Harms and Abigail Saxton from The University of Toledo under the direction of Dr. Gary Insch, professor of management. This profile was a portion of a final project in Insch’s Sustainability in Business course.
The business innovation story was chosen from a pool of 585 stories published on the AIM2Flourish platform in 2020, and is one of the 17 best stories exemplifying how business is a positive force for good and demonstrating progress towards the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (Global Goals).
AIM2Flourish is a global learning initiative supported by the U.N. in which students use Appreciative Inquiry and the 17 Global Goals to discover and honor untold stories about business innovations for good.
Aquaponic Farming is one of 17 Flourish Prize Honorees for 2021.
The Sustainability in Business class generally has students from different colleges around The University of Toledo. Harms and Saxton are both studying environmental science. This initiative illustrates a strong collaboration across university disciplines.
UToledo has had semifinalists in the past, but this is the first year that the University boasts a winning team.
“We are thrilled to have a student project from The University of Toledo recognized this year,” Insch said. “[The Sustainability in Business course] gives students who are interested in sustainability the opportunity to research profitable sustainability business practices in the Northwest Ohio area. Abigail and Lee did an excellent job detailing Balance Farms’ philosophy and operations.”
The class is one of four required courses for The University of Toledo’s “sustainability” minor; each of the four required courses is offered in a different college.
Balance Farms, a successful and sustainable business innovation, has been a part of Balance Pan-Asian Grille for more than five years. The company’s goal is to continue to pave the way for sustainable food and energy practices in restaurants around the world.
Balance Farms occupies space in downtown Toledo, where a network of energy-efficient aquaponic systems is housed. These systems provide fresh, organically grown produce to 30 local restaurants a week.
In the company profile featuring Balance Farms, Harms and Saxton said that “the aquaponic farm has pushed the limits for sustainable food in numerous categories in its ability to grow in this capacity. Dan Sadoski, along with [Prakash] Karamachandani and [HoChan] Jang, are truly the masterminds behind the innovation; starting from the idea, down to the mechanics of the systems in place, these three worked together to create this remarkable sustainable indoor farm.”
Sadoski, the head designer, mechanic, and inspiration behind Balance Farms, said, “Our inputs and outputs are all reused; we compost, we use very little water compared to traditional farming and we are able to compete and compare to distribution models because we are using less energy.
“[We are] building more of an ecological system of beneficial organisms that work together, that’s how there is less loss than traditional farming.”