On a large scale, Aquaponics may provide enough food to significantly add to the daily use of a regular family. You can grow fruit and vegetables, and fish.
The self-containing and -sustaining system is perfect when you want to add protein to your diet, and still be as self-sufficient as possible.
Aquaponics is not new, it turns out the Aztecs used it too, also, in South-East Asia the idea had sprung up a long time ago. In Thailand for instance, the idea of having fish in the rice paddies to provide nutrients and eliminate pests worked quite well.
It’s just now, with the aid of modern communication tools, that we can develop and spread the idea much better and further.
So, what is it then?
It’s a combination of aquaculture (raising aquatic animals for food) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water). Combining the two provides a neatly closed system where one “level” feeds the other.
The absolute beauty, in my opinion, is that the water used is constantly recycled by the system itself. The plants filter and add oxygen, the fish use the oxygen and add nutrients to the water, which feeds the plants. It’s a perfect cycle.
I’m not going into too much detail on how to build an aquaponics system, this information can be found all over the Internet. We’ll cover it here when we actually build our own.
When set up just right, you can have a perfectly sustainable system that provides food the year round. You only need to replenish water which is lost through evaporation. According to Wikipedia, “aquaponics uses approximately 2% of the water that a conventionally irrigated farm requires for the same vegetable production.”
You can even raise or grow the food for the fish yourself. Creating a completely closed and 100% sustainable system. And you don’t even need that much space for it.
And, best of all, the system is extremely scalable. You can have a small system, just to grow some herbs, or a complete system to feed a family of four the year round.
Talking about small systems. Dutch based company Vegua is about to launch a Kickstarter for their take on aquaponics.
A beautifully made system to have in the house and grow some herbs, fruits or veggies. Now, I don’t think you want to eat the goldfish, but you can certainly grow some lovely, fresh herbs in this great device.
“The Vegua is an eco-friendly design product that uses fish to produce food. It brings a unique atmosphere to any home,” stated founder Johan Manders. “Many varieties of herbs, small vegetables, and fruits can be grown in the Vegua, and even people with little or no garden space can have fresh foods grown in their home,” added Manders.
This, I think, is a wonderful product. Especially for people who a) are thinking of starting with aquaponics, but don’t want to go all out yet, and b) for people who want to start growing their own green stuff.
Just like the Niwa we wrote about in a previous tech post, the Vegua is an innovative idea, well executed and beautifully made. They combine ancient ideas with modern technology and great design.
And, for me, the best part is, they’re a gateway product to bigger and better projects. Because, you know, once you taste your first home grown organic strawberry or parsley.., you are going to want more.., and more.., and more.