What do we need? Food! When do we need it? Now! And we need it sustainable and environmentally friendly. Do you think I’m asking too much? No!
So how do we do it? There are a few options and one major one is aquaponics. What is aquaponics? In short, a very sustainable way of producing high value proteins with fish and plenty of vegetation with drastic (and I mean DRASTIC) water reduction. Depending on the crops and environment you could save as little at 50% and as much as 90% of the water you would use on traditional crops (greens, fruits, and more). Even grain crops could be grown but aren’t as economical to scale. However, we need to look past economics at some point if it comes down to survival of our planet.
It has been said that aquaponics is energy intensive. That is very much not true. Your absolute requirement is at least a single water pump per system which can provide for hundreds of square feet of growing space. In addition you would likely want aeration, heating and/or cooling of the water (less so of the air) , and possibly lighting. All of this can easily be covered with solar and small wind. I’ve done so for multiple years now utilizing only 900w worth of solar panels and a decent battery bank.
As for the fish, you grow what is most suitable for your environment. Since all fish will poop they will all contribute to plant growth. The growth of the fish depends on the species and water parameters, most importantly the temperature. For warmer climates tilapia is often the go to answer. Their rapid growth means they can be harvested within a year. Perch and bluegill can also be hardy but slower growing. Cooler weather you can do trout and catfish. For ecological reasons you can also restrict to certain varieties in case anyone is foolish enough to release unwanted fish into a waterway or a natural disaster facilitated their escape.
Now here is where it gets more interesting. Space. You don’t need a lot! A couple of acres tops will allow year round production. Even a single acre is sufficient for a family run farm. You can convert small farms into higher production aquaponics farms. City lots, abandoned buildings, malls can all be aquaponics farms. You can bring food production right into the city. No food deserts. No lettuce or tomatoes having to be trucked 1000 miles or more. Lower biological risk as you’re not likely to be spraying your food with contaminated water. Less pesticides in a controlled system.
And jobs! Help me make this a reality. We need abundant small farms. No corporation, just cooperation. All profits are returned to workers, not shareholders. Excess is donated to schools and food banks. No restrictions. Nobody left behind.
Want to help? Reach me at penguinponics at gmail dot com.