Aquaponics: Fish + Plants = Food
Recirculating Aquaculture (raising fish in tanks) + Hydroponics (growing plants without soil) = Aquaponics
(growing fish and plants together)
February 24, 2011
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In these difficult economic times helping each other is more important than ever. The current news headlines are proclaiming not just significant increases in the price of food, but actual food shortages. Many people have already suffered the loss of their jobs, their homes and even their self-esteem. Others are now just barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. In fact, too many people now have more 'month' left over at the end of the paycheck than the other way around.
Community Aquaponics Centers can help to both feed and employ people. And not just here in Tucson, but around the world. The systems we design and perfect here in Tucson in the coming months can be set up in other parts of the US and the world that have a climate similar to ours.
Individual Aquaponics Systems can provide food for a family, with extra to be traded or sold to neighbors or at a farmer's market.
Aquaponics is the growing of fish and plants together in a closed recirculating system. The fish are housed and fed in an appropriate tank and the water is circulated to growing areas for a very diverse crop of vegetables, flowers and other plants. The plants, helped by beneficial bacteria, effectively clean the water by utilizing the nutrients excreted by the fish and the clean water is then recirculated to the fish. Very little land area, water or electricity is required to operate an aquaponics system. Research from Hawaii indicates that:
* Aquaponics uses less than 2% of the water that traditional farming does.
* Aquaponics is energy-efficient: our current systems use one-tenth of the energy conventional farming does.
* Aquaponics has eight to ten times more vegetable production in the same area and time.
* Aquaponics is fully scalable from indoor systems to backyard family systems to full commercial systems.
* Aquaponics is pure, clean, and natural: USDA Certified Organic and Food Safety Certified.
The Tucson AquaPonics Project
The Tucson AquaPonics Project, an open-source, non-profit, community supported training and resource organization is designed to help individuals and communities achieve 'Food Freedom' and sustainability.
Food Freedom includes the right and the ability to grow, eat, trade, buy and sell locally or regionally grown, safe, healthy, delicious foods free from Genetic Engineering (GE), Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), drugs, hormone modifications, irradiation and/or pesticide/herbicide/sewage contamination.
Sustainability in desert or arid regions is different than in well-watered areas and is a primary focus of the Tucson AquaPonics Project. Sustainability involves creating and managing healthy ecosystems and environments of diverse biological systems that require very few outside inputs to maintain their long term viability and productivity.
The Tucson AquaPonics Project is committed to supporting organic food production, both by Aquaponics methods and land-based agriculture.
The Tucson AquaPonics Project will research and test methods and designs for constructing and operating low-cost Aquaponics systems in non-tropical desert or arid climates, as well as provide training and support for individuals and communities that desire to pursue Aquaponics.
Work is under way to turn this into a real web site. Even while that is occurring we are seeking help to implement the Tucson AquaPonics Project. We are looking for qualified people to serve on the Board of Directors. We need help setting up the non-profit corporation. We're looking for technical advisers and participants in the areas of fish and plant science; solar power for water circulation and air pumps; instrumentation engineers and technicians for our R&D; advertising, marketing and outreach; construction and operation, and many others.
If you'd like to help, or just ask questions, please contact: Casey [at] TucsonAP.org
If you're not interested at this time please consider passing this info on to anyone you think may be interested.
Thanks, and I hope to hear from you,
p.s. I have been greatly inspired and encouraged by Tim Mann and Susanne Friend (hence their company name: "Friendly Aquaponics') in Hawaii. Their web site is a great place to get more info on Aquaponics - www.FriendlyAquaponics.com
In addition, here are some links to learn more about Aquaponics while this web site is being built: