Ten Questions for Gregor Hoffmann
- The most important questions first: do you refer to tomatoes as Tomaten, or Paradeiser?
I actually say both: my father was from Vienna, so Paradeiser, and my mother is from Upper Austria, so Tomaten.
- Breeding fish and growing veg all in one – how does that work?
Aquaponics is the combination of fish breeding (aquaculture) and vegetable growing (hydroponics). The wastewater from the fish tanks provides the basis of the vegetable growing system.
- How did this innovative project on the outskirts of Vienna come to fruition?
Four partners and friends working in gardening and agriculture came up with an idea together: creating a form of agriculture fit for our grandchildren, in the form of a modern closed economic cycle.
- What fish is best suited for this kind of system?
Catfish, especially the African species, which is perfectly suited due to its natural habitat.
- What do the fish eat – surely not the produce?
They eat organic cereal mixed with animal protein that we are continuing to fine-tune in an ongoing research project – high-quality, certified-organic feed.
- Where can I find blün products?
On restaurant menus, at the farm gate, or in our online store.
- Which Viennese restaurants do you supply?
We now have more or less pride of place on around 50 menus.
- Are the products themselves organic?
Our production methods actually take things a step further. There is currently no certification for that in the conventional sense – but our core values of local, transparent, and eco-effective are very much in evidence.
- What is it like being a farmer in Vienna?
In short: it’s great! We see ourselves as part of the land and part of the city – something that is only possible in Vienna. The close ties we have with the city and the people around us as customers, stakeholders and the like are unique.
- Where do you spend your free time?
I live with my family in the 18th district, Währing. A wonderful district with lots of parks.
Interview: Karoline Gasienica-Bryjak