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May 28, 2019


Using the Aquaponics Technique to Keep Ingredients Local


May 28, 2019


Using the Aquaponics Technique to Keep Ingredients Local

APPLETON, Wis. – Patients, team members and those visiting the Fresh Market Café at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Appleton will notice fresh choices available from dining services. Through a unique partnership, some of those choices come from a local aquaponics farmer from Northeast Wisconsin.

“We’re excited to partner with a local food producer who prioritizes fresh, naturally grown food,” said Larry London, Executive Chef for ThedaCare. “We want to be sure that we’re getting the best food options to our patients and families.”

Creek Side Aquaponics in Neenah grows flavorful salad greens in a closed-loop system that is fed by six 800-gallon fish tanks, each of them housing 400 tilapia. According to Jeff Kirk, greenhouse manager with Cr

eek Side, aquaponics is a soil-less farming technique, which converts waste produced by fish to supply micronutrients to plants.

“The waste water produced by the fish goes through a clarifier, and the clean nutrient-rich water is pumped to large floating raft beds of lettuce that easily absorb the dissolved nutrients,” he said. “It creates an ecosystem that both fish and greens can thrive in. Some people might be concerned about the cleanliness, but we take precautions to ensure that we create safe products.”

This “river system” ultimately returns the water to the fish tanks, which are themselves harvested on a staggered monthly schedule for Creek Side’s individual and wholesale fresh fish customers.

Chef Larry’s team orders two separate harvests and deliveries each week, for a total of 25 pounds of fresh mixed salad greens that his team integrates into menu offerings at the Fresh Market Café.

“I love that our greens from Creek Side taste fresh all year as if from a summer farmer’s market, and they are produced without any synthetic fertilizers,” Chef Larry said. “The greens are packed with micronutrients, beyond what we could get from plants grown in typically overworked soil.”

Using aquaponics allows Creek Side to bypass the limitations of growing seasons. Everything is done in a greenhouse.

“We choose our producers very intentionally,” said Chef Larry. “It’s our mission to care for the communities we serve, and that means partnering with talented local producers—and feeding people good food.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.