Homepage 2019 » Forums » Water Sustainability » Thought on L45 Aquaponics: if you don't grow on the Earth what are you?

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    The proposal of aquaponics / hydroponics etc may be required but it is a BIG step away from the present definition of food. At present food grows in the soil which is continuously connected to Gaia’s sou(i)l and is therefore blessed or whatever you might want to say about that relationship. Such a separation is not good and that is why the present efforts to save the biosphere must be stepped up.



    Hello Alan + everybody,
    It’s been a minute since your post, but…
    I felt a twinge of something while learning about aquaponics. It feels uncomfortable to remove the earth/nature so much from the process of growing food, it definitely feels pretty radical to me. It feels akin to creating a solution that addresses part of the issue but doesn’t help with the whole problem. Aquaponics seems so disconnected from regenerating the soil and other more wholistic principles of permaculture. I think it’s important to see aquaponics as only a partial part of the plan. I can’t remember exactly what Max said about it, something about giving the soil a break, but along the same lines, instead of thinking about it as removing nature from the equation, it can be a way to remove people from nature. Plant some cover crops, some trees, not all land needs to be a source of human food. Aquaponics could help to free up land and resources for more natural/wild environments and species. It certainly seems like a better solution for producing fish/shellfish for consumption as opposed to fish farms. Aquaponics also seems very suited to the space and resource limits of the city. I definitely think aquaponics systems are supercool and amazing, I just feel a little worried/guilty that we’re abandoning the planet… whether or not that’s true.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK? I’d really like to know!



    I’m an aquaponic farmer. I grow in both soil and in my two units. I do love the feeling of soil. When I moved into my home, the backyard was rock hard clay. I got some chickens and they turned up the yard. I used the waste from my filters and composted all kitchen waste and chicken poop. I know have a super healthy backyard with soil. My soil needed to be healed but I didn’t want to do it in an unnatural way. Aquaponics is like leggos. It is scalable. You can have a 50 gallon aquaponic unit, you can have a 10,000 gallon unit. Ours are 600 and 300 gallons respectfully. We used both chickens and our units to bring the soil back to life. We now have a beautiful backyard which we don’t even really water. Use only fish waste from our filters to nitrify the soil and let what grows grow. The funny thing is in the beginning I hated it. It looked messy and not orderly. Now it looks like a rambling English garden. The temperature in my back yard is about four degrees lower than my neighbors who has nothing but lawn and concrete patio. My units provide 85 percent of all greens we eat and we use no chemicals. Our only pesticide is water (we hose off eggs and pests), yellow sticky cardboard tape, and our fingers), any other unnatural chemicals would kill our fish. We raise rainbow trout and tilapia along with some goldfish and koi. My back yard is small. Yet I am able to do all of this.

    We have lowered our garbage by more than half. We compost everything. Our leftover meat goes to our black solder fly farm. They are beneficial insects and keep away the pesky housefly and also I’ve seen them pollinate my plants. I’ve now got dragonflies I’ve never seen before. I have chickens who will mow my yard, eat all the bugs, give me more eggs than I can handle and great entertainment. I’ve been able to bring back a little piece of paradise with our aquaponic units. I would have had to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to get the results I have now. Yes, it took time and patience. I had to raise my chickens from the time they were a day old. I was forced to container garden since my soil was so depleted in the beginning but now I have an edible garden in my front yard, I have native and non-native but nitrifying plants in my backyard along with my two units. I DO NOT feel I have neglected the earth…in fact I’ve cared for it and it shows.

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