Can you beat austerity with Aquaponics?


What will you do when the banksters asset strip your country and there are food riots? Some people think the answer is to grow your own in a fish tank.

A medium or large indoor hydroponic operation.

You’ve probably heard of both fish farms and hydroponics; put the two together and you have aquaponics. There is at least one guy currently selling a start up kit on-line for a bargain basement price, but if you look on YouTube you can probably work out how to begin your own home farm for next to nothing. The universal guru in this relatively new field appears to be American Nate Storey, so check him out. And there is at least one group of people combining aquaponics with solar power, which means that – in Kenya at least – this is a sure fire way of feeding the family for free, and heating the home. Not that they need much heat there.

Whether or not small is beautiful, this is an idea that could work on a global scale. One enthusiast believes there should be a food hub in every neighbourhood. If instead of funding so-called charities that pay their executives and other top staff telephone number salaries, wealthy donors were to make direct gifts to villages and townships the world over, think of the transformation that could bring about. Everywhere from deprived towns in North America and the North of England to villages in sub-Saharan Africa growing much of their own food reducing dependency on international markets, reducing transportation costs, reducing pollution, and decentralising the power everywhere.

When one considers there are only two real alternatives to this – Monsanto or global starvation – a fish tank and a small greenhouse in every other back yard or rooftop sounds more practical than novel.

Aquaponics can be used to grow a wide variety of not only vegetables and herbs but fruit as well. Vegetables grown include beans and peas, capsicum, okra, onions, radishes, and tomatoes as well as leafy stuff like Chinese cabbage and lettuce. A properly designed and maintained system is totally eco-friendly: the plants feed the fish, the fish fertilise the plants, and they both feed you. A financial analysis from 2009 (written from an Australian perspective) concluded that “Governments, businesses and individuals alike and encourage the use of aquaponics at all levels”.

A commercial aquaponics system.

An aquaponics set up developed by Bangladesh Agricultural University.

[The above op-ed was published originally April 30, 2013.]

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