CAMPAIGNERS for sustainable food production, who have won the support of Prince Charles, have launched a £545,000 aqua garden.

Supporters of the Incredible Edible Movement in Todmorden now hope students will take on board the lessons which can be learned from growing plants by aquaponics, a water-based system which uses fish to provide nutrients for plants.

The organisation was given £544,785 from the Big Lottery Fund to construct the tanks and frames for the project, which was opened by town mayor Coun Jayne Booth at Todmorden High School.

Included in the garden also will be a hydroponics section, where crops are grown in mineral-rich water, alongside conventional soil-grown horticulture.

Pam Warhurst, the garden project’s chairman, said: “This has been four years in the making. We’ve overcome many challenges to get this far and now the aqua garden is a reality. But this is just the beginning.

“It will be one of the only places in the country where people can gain hands-on experience of aquaponics.”

Part of the system will see Tilapia fish reared in tanks, with their waste products sustaining a crop of water cress. The water is then cleaned and re-circulated.

Other crops from tomatoes and beans to herbs and salad ingredients will be fostered in the hydroponics enclosure.