A system capable of producing organic food in large-scale uses the technology of intensive aquaculture and hydroponics.
One of the biggest limiting factors of organic food production is the ability to scale up.
Plants of same species are more susceptible to plague and disease when grown too closely and too densely.
Hydropnics, a food production system based on growing plants in a nutrient-rich solution, has revolutionised the agriculture providing the usage of infertile soils and the urban space, or at least close of the consumption centres.
The same applies to the aquaculture techniques, that enable us to produce fish, crustaceans and molluscs, often using tanks, underwater cages and specific structures that allow us to keep control of the production variables.
Aquaponics is the combination of those two techniques – hydroponics and aquaculture, resolving a common issue for both: waste generation.
Together, they can provide some advantages:
- There is no need to add chemicals or pesticides in the water, confronting hydroponics that relies heavily in adding chemicals to the water, and intensive aquaculture that needs chemicals in the water to control its quality.
- The production is necessarily organic, because the system is build in a delicate biological equilibrium that take months (even a few years) to take place, and adding chemicals would make damage to plants, fish or microfauna.
- It is possible to scale up commercially, due to the biological equilibrium, the system is more resilient to plague and disease than the traditional food production systems, even the organic ones.
- It’s a permaculture, providing good quality food all year.
- It’s flexible and versatile and it can be installed in any space, and grow whatever you imagine (yes! that thing you imagined can be grown too)
- It deliveries high productivity rates. Hydroponics and aquaculture already are highly productive, imagine those combined!
The flexibility of aquaponics systems is impressive – it is doable with cheap/recycled materials, fitting small spaces or large facilities.
Let your eyes be washed up with some possibilities shared by enthusiasts around the globe:
As this technology gets popular, you will see people growing herbs and fishing in their backyard more often!
And you, what are your experiences with aquaponics? Drop a comment!
If you are an aquaponics grower, what about giving me an interview? I’d love to hear your story!