Fish are friends...and food!
What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a food production system that combines aquaculture -- the raising of aquatic animals such as fish and snails in a tank -- with hydroponics -- the cultivation of plants in water. This combination creates a symbiotic environment where each life form benefits the other. The fish supply necessary nutrients to plants by way of nitrifying bacteria, and the plants clean the water for the fish.
Advantages of Aquaponics
There are several advantages to using aquaponics as a method for growing fresh produce. Even though the system uses a lot of water to get started, this closed circulation system uses much less water than traditional farming techniques. Also, this system allows for a year-round growing season with the aid of greenhouses and the warm water from the fish tanks during colder months. Lastly, as weather patterns become more erratic, growing in an enclosed system provides more security and controls in growing produce.
Why Youth Are Interested in Aquaponics
For the teens raised on a farm or for those thinking about farming, traditional growing techniques may not hold a lot of appeal. Aquaponics, on the other hand, provides young people an opportunity to be innovative while producing food. The combination of fish, plants and water makes growing food a bit more interesting! More produce can be grown in a smaller setting which keeps costs down. More youth today are interested in conserving resources and utilizing alternative energy sources. Aquaponics means growing more while using less - a win-win!
Merging Traditional Farming with Innovative Techniques
We have chosen aquaponics for our youth training program because it teaches young people a wide range of skills to prepare for the future while reflecting the agricultural heart of Pulaski County. Trainees will be able to gain a basic understanding of nutrient chemistry and plants, plumbing, aquaculture, hydroponics, alternative energy such as passive solar power, and a number of other skills. With so many learning opportunities, Pulaski Grow is partnering with Pulaski County High School to offer the business as a STEM* site for students.
* STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
Watch the video below for a brief introduction on the growing field of aquaponics