Aquaponics is a sustainable method of fish farming that recycles fish waste to produce organically-grown vegetables. Simply put, aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and soil-less plant cultivation. It is a re-creation of a naturally occurring interactions between aquatic and terrestrial life that conserves water, reduces waste, and shrinks your carbon footprint.
Places with poor quality soil, limited arable land and drought can grow their own food using aquaponics.
Aquaponics is an organic closed loop system in which the only input is fish food. Fertilizer is provided by the fish waste.
Aztecs who settled near the marshy shores of Lake Tenochtitlan, constructed large rafts out of reeds and rushes they found near the lake. They floated these rafts in the water and covered them with soil which they dredged up from the bottom of the shallow lake. They then planted their vegetable crops on these floating islands that they called “chinampas”. When the plants matured, their roots grew through the soil and dangled in the water.
In South China, a dike-pond system of agriculture still exists where mulberry, sugarcane, vegetables, silkworm breeding and pig raising are integrated with fish cultivation. Crop and crop waste are fed directly to carp, bream and tilapia.
In the Western world, the origin of aquaponics is attributed to John Todd, Nancy Todd and William McLarney. In 1969, the constructed a prototype agricultural structure (Ark); a solar powered, self-sufficient bio-shelter with technology that facilitated the production of fish and vegetables for a family of four, while also providing shelter. Since then several others including Missouri farmers Tom and Paula Speraneo, Canadian researcher Dr Nick Savidov, James Racocy of the University of the Virgin Island, and Will Allen of Growing Power. have contributed greatly to the evolution of modern aquaponics.