Urban Garden at Fresh Cafe

As I sipped my mocha from the breezy patio area outside of Fresh Cafe, the hydroponics setup in the corner of the lot caught my eye. Three bins overflowing with plants lined an outdoor shelf. Below those, water poured out of a spout and into two more bins.

I got up to take a closer look and noticed koi fish swimming in the bins below. A smorgasbord of chives, green onions, thyme and more packed the above bins. They looked so tasty and so fresh; for a cafe named Fresh, it’s only logical that they grow their own veggies. And a hydroponics system in the middle of an urban area is the way to do it.

For those of you not familiar with how a hydroponics system works: In a natural pond, fish consume food and then poop it out. Bacteria converts the toxic ammonia found in fish poop into nitrate – a nutrient for plants. Like Fresh Cafe, a system is set up, in which those nutrients get recycled and pumped back into the plants. It’s a synergistic, self-sustaining system.

Nowadays, more and more people have resorted to urban-friendly gardens such as this. Some businesses have an outdoor garden on their rooftops. It’s always awesome to hear and see the creativity that comes out of such sustainable efforts. It’s especially awesome to see that one of my favorite Honolulu coffee shops takes this to heart and has been making an effort in running a more Earth-friendly business.


• 831 Queen St., Honoulu, HI 96813 • Opens Mon-Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 9am-6pm • 808-688-8055 • Free parking available but limited

Posted by: Bruce Fisher