A COUPLE trying to raise thousands of pounds to launch Oxford's first fish poo-powered farm celebrated over Christmas after smashing £21,000.

Business partners Ali Nicholson and Oliver O'Dell raised their total through a crowdfunder campaign in mid-December.

They are now planning to create their fishy farm on land outside Oxford.

In the project, the company which they call Smart Greens will grow leafy plants such as lettuce, pak choi and chard in water.

That water will be pumped from fish tanks containing live African tilapia fish, and will be full of nutrients from the fish waste.

The plants will absorb the nutrients and clean the water, which is then returned to the fish.

The technique, known as aquaponics, also excited the people of Oxfordshire, and a total of 55 supporters pledged £21,280 in just 35 days.

With the cash raised through the crowdfunding campaign, Smart Greens are planning to buy two new shipping containers to house the fish, plumbing and 'propagation area', a large polytunnel, fish tanks and solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint even more.

The pair describe aquaponics as 'the oldest form of farming in the world' and say it is 'completely environmentally friendly'.

Smart Greens CEO Mr O'Dell, who lives in Longcot, told this paper at the beginning of December: "Aquaponics is the most environmental way to grow food and dates back hundreds of years.

"It doesn't need any chemicals or fertilisers and reduces water usage by up to 97 per cent compared to traditional horticulture."

Find out more at smart-greens.uk