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Stewart Farms will be building a vertical aquaponics facility where they will use tilapia to grow cannabis. Image:Stewart Farms
Stewart Farms will be building a vertical aquaponics facility where they will use tilapia to grow cannabis. Image:Stewart Farms

Canada is the global leader in cannabis production and growers have come up with unique ways of cultivating the crops. A New Brunswick company joins the Canadian aquaponics family by using tilapia in its grow operation.


Stewart Farms is building a 100,000 sq. ft. vertical aquaponics farm on 29 acres of land located in Saint Stephens. 

They will be using automation and land-based aquaculture to produce medical grade organic cannabis for both recreational and medical markets in Canada. 

Stewart Farms will be producing over 11 tonnes of medical grade organic cannabis and 220 tonnes of live organic tilapia every year by 2021. 6600 organic tilapia will be shipped to the Boston and New York markets every week. 

Tilapia will be fed a proprietary diet. Fish by-products will be combined  with microbes and turned into fertilizer.  Fertilizer will flow to the roots of the plants giving them nutrition. The plants absorb what they need and the remaining clean water will flow back into the tilapia tanks.

"We use 90% less water than conventional agriculture thanks to our closed-loop water recycling system. This allows us to save resources and avoid dumping toxic water into the environment,” said Tanner Stewart, co-founder and ceo of Stewart Farms.

All of their products will be free of herbicides, pesticides and synthetic nutrients.

Resistant to diseases

The company chose to use tilapia because they are easy to breed and grow to maturity faster than most other cultured fish. Tilapia can grow to 2.5 lbs. in seven months and are more resistant to diseases and parasites compared to other fish used in aquaponic operations. The fish will be kept in water temperatures ranging from 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (20-28°C).

Furthermore, Stewart Farms has joined forces with Strainprint Technologies Ltd, the leader in cannabis data and analytics.  "Through our partnership with Strainprint we gain direct access to their incomparable data and analytics tools. This will aid us in educating a wider audience on the medical benefits and best practices of cannabis-based medicine," said Stewart.

The company plans to complete construction of the building in the next 2 years. Once in operation Stewart Farms will employ 100 people locally.

Canada legalized cannabis use and production in 2018. Deloitte estimates a market worth $12.7-$22.6 billion annually.

Read more about cannabis and tilapia aquaponics here: