To learn more about aquaponics, I'm interning in a greenhouse this summer. Here's a quick tour of the greenhouse showing some of the systems I'll be working with.
In a nutshell, aquaponics is the combination of fish farming and hydroponic food production. In an aquaponics system, waste water from fish farming is used to provide nutrients to plants that are grown hydroponically (without soil). In return, the plants act as water filters by pulling nutrients from the water. This "filtered" water is then returned to the fish tank. Food grown in this manner saves resources by requiring less water than traditional farming and also has a much lower impact on the environment. In addition, soil-less farming allows crops to be grown in areas where food production might not otherwise be possible such as deserts and urban centers.
When I first heard about aquaponics, I thought it was a great idea. Little did I know that just a few years later, I'd be dedicating my life to becoming an aquaponics farmer! Nevermind the fact that I've never actually farmed before. How hard can it be, right?
Over the past few years, I've done a lot of research online about aquaponics and sustainable farming. I even went back to school to work on my master's in agricultural economics to prepare myself to start my farm. Well, I'm still working on my master's but not it's down to my thesis. I believe that I have most of the theory behind aquaponics but not it's time to look at the practical side of it. Do these systems really work when put into practice? Are they easy to run? And the highlight of my thesis, CAN THEY BE PROFITABLE???
To aide in my journey toward mastering aquaponics, my advisor suggested that I get some "hands-on" experience this summer. So here I am... working on a fish farm... sweating my butt off... working elbows deep in fish poop.... But so far, I LOVE it!
I plan to use this blog as a journal to document my progress along the way :)