February 10, 2020 |  WBAY Green Bay

The Farmory in Green Bay launched a new fish hatchery with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Monday.  The Farmory’s mission is to bring sustainable, indoor agriculture to the Green Bay community.  The new fish hatchery can produce 400,000 fish each year. They’ll be sold to local farmers who will grow them to a larger size.

“For now our goal is to really seed the industry with a steady consistent supply of secure trained fingerlings that farmers can grow. They can produce that they can sell at a profit and be able to make money in aquaculture,” said Executive Director, Claire Thompson.

Paul Ladd is one of the first to get his feet wet with the Farmory’s mission and is planning to be one of those local farmers.  “I would like to be on their cycle of every quarter being able to raise fish until they’re big enough to take out to market,” said Ladd. He’s been a volunteer at The Farmory for the last four years and is on the board of directors.

Thompson says with the yellow perch shortage in Lake Michigan, producing them locally will help fill the demand.  “This year the catch was very poor, as it is in many years, so there’s not going to be enough perch for the Friday night fish fry. That’s why we’re focusing on yellow perch: There’s a huge demand for it. We love it. We want to eat it. We want to be able to grow it sustainably here in Green Bay,” Thompson said.

The non-profit is located in what used to be the Allouez water bottling plant which then turned into the Green Bay Armory.  “It’s great timing and we feel very fortunate to use this building to its highest and best use, and use it for what it’s intended; which is to hold a lot of water,” said Thompson.

The hatchery is on the lower level and the upstairs will be an aquaponics farm, where nutrients from the fish will be used to grow greens.  “We’re going to be growing out head lettuce, mixed baby greens, herbs, microgreens depending on what the market demands. We’ll have a lot of flexibility to work within that depending on what customers want. We’ll be selling predominately to wholesale markets here in the greater Green Bay area,” said Thompson.  The Farmory plans an open house this spring.