Is Aquaponics the Future of Farming?
Cody Parker, founder of Drop the Beet Farms, is sharing everything you should know about the sustainable farming method.
Imagine a farming method where fish and vegetables engage in a mutually beneficial tango, creating a self-sustaining ecosystem. Well, welcome to the world of aquaponics—something that’s not only transforming the way we grow food but also holds the promise of a more sustainable and interconnected future for our planet.
Want to learn all about aquaponics? Cody Parker, founder of Drop the Beet Farms, shared the ins and outs below. To learn more, listen to the latest episode of Good Together here.
What Is Aquaponics?
"Aquaponics is arguably the most sustainable way that you can farm. It's a symbiotic relationship between fish bacteria and plants. We're basically combining aquaculture, which is fish farming, and we're attaching it to hydroponics, which is growing plants without dirt or soil. When you combine the two, you get a super-efficient system where the waste products from the fish are serving as fertilizer for the plants. And the plants are cleaning and filtering the water for the fish. So you're able to grow a protein source as well as a vegetable source."
Photo: Cody Parker, Drop the Beet Farms
The Benefits of Aquaponics Over Conventional Farming
1. It Uses Less Water
"We use a 10th of the amount of water compared to soil-grown crops. That's because it's a recirculating ecosystem, and all the water is contained. If you were to think about watering a tomato plant outside with a hose, you can guarantee that not all that water is reaching the soil structure, or it just dissipates into the soil structure before the root zone can take up. The water in our systems is completely contained. So the only water we're losing is through evapotranspiration from the plants."
2. It Uses Less Space
"We use a 10th of the amount of space because we're able to grow vertically. So instead of growing out, like in a field, we're able to grow up. So we can really multiply the amount of crops that we can produce per square foot, which is great for urban areas."
3. There's No Weeding or Pesticides
"The biggest deterrent for people having their own gardens is how much weeding they have to do. There's no weeding in our systems, which is fantastic. You pick which plants go into the system, and they won't have to compete with any other plants. For that reason, we don't need herbicides either. On a commercial scale, there are less pest issues. You can actually be completely pesticide-free because you're in a controlled environment."
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