Originally published on October 26, 2017
In today's blog we hear from Adrian Southern and Whelm King, the authors of the just released book, The Aquaponic Farmer: A Complete Guide to Building and Operating a Commercial Aquaponic System. What is aquaponic farming you ask? It is the process of raising fish and vegetables together, and for the first time all you need to know to do it on a commercial level (with cold-water fish!) is available in this comprehensive book. So read on to find out why the authors think aquaponics is where it is at!
In celebration of the recent publishing of our book, The Aquaponic Farmer, we are proud to give you our Top Ten reasons why we love aquaponics!
By combining two systems (aquaculture and hydroponics) we create one hybrid system that is greater than the sum of its parts, solving the primary problems of both independent systems while retaining all the benefits.
Water use is reduced by up to 90% compared with traditional (soil) farming. A lettuce grown in soil consumes about 15 liters of water to grow. We produce lettuce using less than 2 liters of water, and much of those 2 liters is used again to fertilize soil crops or to produce organic fertilizer.
A Balanced Meal
Aquaponics provides both vegetables and protein, and it is not restricted to just fish. Other aquatic species can be cultured in the system such as shrimp/crayfish and mussels/clams.
Aquaponic systems can be made resilient to poor growing conditions through environmental controls, enabling year-round production, and it is drought and flood tolerant.
Aquaponics is ideal for remote locations with poor traditional growing conditions, particularly those locations with cold climates where fresh vegetables are commonly imported at very high cost. Systems can be operated off-grid, are easy to ship in pieces and assemble with little manpower.
Aquaponics farms require no arable land so they are ideal for what would otherwise be food deserts such as empty commercial and industrial property or unused parking lots.
Family Farm Profits
Too many smaller commercial farmers rightly complain about overlong working hours and minimal returns. Aquaponics can change this. Our system is operable by one or more people working a combined 40 hours per week or less (not including sales and admin) and can yield an excellent farm income. The system also incorporates the capacity to use the created fertilizer to supplement land-based crops or orchards.
A System Of Permaculture
Good aquaponic systems incorporate principles of permaculture: efficient use of resources, reduction/elimination of wastes, positive environmental impact, and more.
The rewards of working with an ecosystem are great. Nurturing young plants and caring for your fish, working in the sheltered outdoors, providing food for your community, and attending farmers markets are all fun and rewarding!
We hope you’ll join us as pioneers in the world of aquaponics!
Adrian Southern and Whelm King