It’s fun! It’s therapeutic! It’s sustainable. It’s environmentally friendly. It’s just a darn good way to grow food! So why aquaponic? Here’s why “we aquaponic!”
Aquaponics produces both fish and organic vegetables, in a dynamic, natural, pond-type ecosystem that can either feed you and your family or scaled up to feed many commercially. It’s the farming of the future! Even if you haven’t farmed or gardened extensively, most can grasp this simply way to grow food. Unlike hydroponics and managing chemical inputs and fertilizer, the natural ecosystem of an aquaponics system makes aquaponics an easier to manage. Most of today’s farmers are retiring and leaving a huge deficit in people knowing how and wanting to grow food.
Aquaponics uses only a fraction of the water used in conventional farming and can use even less if you collect rain water to add to your system. Aquaponic farmers are not dependent on huge amounts of water as are conventional in-ground farmers and it does not have the same environmental impact of tremendous water consumption and waste. The minimal use of water means Aquaponics is the answer for drought stricken environments. It’s like the oasis in the desert.
Aquaponics also can grow more produce compared to produce grown conventionally in the ground. Vegetables usually grow significantly faster, and at three to four times the density, without ever depleting the nutrients. Its soil counterpart depletes nutrients with every planting and farmers struggle to replace them with synthetic fertilizers. This way of growing food means the aquaponics farm does not require farmland with fertile soil, or even land with soil at for that matter.
Another huge benefit of aquaponic growing is that it grows 100% chemical free, all natural produce. If any chemical or synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers are used, the fish could die, effectively killing your system generator! There is no question that aquaponically grown food is chem free as it cannot be cheated. Even most approved organic pesticides could kill the fish.
Undeniably organic produce IS better to eat, however farming organically on a commercial conventional scale uses the same amount of petrochemical energy as conventional farming and has higher labor costs. This is why organic produce costs more in the market. While chemical fertilizers and pesticides for use in conventional farming take a tremendous amount of petrochemical energy to make, organic farming on a commercial scale uses just as much petrochemical energy to power tractors, compost shredders, spreaders, cultivators, plows and the organic pesticide sprayers. It is a huge cycle of oil consumption and a far cry from green.
So, let’s talk about how green aquaponics is. Aquaponics energy usage is from 70% to 92% less than a conventional or organic farm which use fuel and/or petrochemical-intensive fertilizers. All energy used is electrical, so alternate energy systems such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric can be used to power an aquaponic farm 100%. This alternate energy can be produced locally instead of being shipped in from oil-refining countries, which may be great distances away from the end-user (this shipping over great distances requires still more petrochemical energy). This technology doesn’t even need oil!
In aquaponics, there is no soil, weeds, soil pests or pathogens. Thus, there is no labor required for tilling, cultivating, fertilizer spreading, compost shredding, manure spreading, plowing cover crops in, or irrigating. Seeding, planting and most harvesting can be done standing and working at waist level. The only inputs to an aquaponic system is electricity, fish food, seeds, and potting media. That’s it.
Aquaponics even boasts benefits for both aquaculture and hydroponic operations. The integration of the two, in effect aquaponics, eliminates costly practices in either one. One of the biggest costs in an aquaculture operation is filtering the water free of ammonia, nitrite and nitrate accumulations. However when combined with hydroponics, the plants are the sole source of filtration as well as a great source of income. When compared to hydroponics, aquaponics doesn’t require system purges or dumps or expensive chemicals that must be constantly replenished to grow the food.
The benefits go on and on. For some reason, food grown aquaponically tastes better than conventionally or hydroponically grown food. Perhaps it is the simplicity and natural way it works. With no chemicals to alter or mask the vegetable’s true taste, it simply tastes better. It also lasts longer! And we haven’t even touched on the fact that aquaponics not only grows veggies and fruit, there’s also great tasting fish! And you can consume and sell your fish with the knowledge of the conditions they were raised in and without hormones or antibiotics. Consider it another stream of revenue or perhaps just a way to farm free. Even just selling your fish at your cost to raise them means growing your produce entirely free, no fertilizer cost! Beyond the business implications, consider aquaponics as a life sustaining practice in places where there is no food. It will produce both protein and vegetables. It can keep people alive.
Aquaponics is absolutely the answer for how we are going to grow and get our food for the future. Don’t you want to join the Farm Revolution? Join us and many others and get in on the ground floor of what is going to be the biggest change to agriculture since the industrial revolution. It’s time for another revolution and you can be a part. What are you waiting for?