There has been a long ongoing debate on whether or not sustainable organic farming practices can actually feed the world. Well, at Greater Greens we have no doubt that this is possible. We have selected two Farming techniques that we feel can not only achieve the growing needs of food security, but provide protection from climate change and even start to reverse our impacts on the environment. Our first farming technique is used for our out-door production where we use Organic Bio-intensive No-till Farming Practices, which is covered in another post. The second is our in-door Organic Aquaponics Farming, which is the focus of this post.
So, what exactly is Aquaponics farming: this is a farming practice that has been used for over 3,000 years by many ancient civilizations. It uses a closed loop system where fish create waste in the form of ammonia and other soluble vitamins, minerals and amino acids, that waste is broken down by beneficial nitrifying bacteria to nitrite and nitrate which can then be utilized as a nitrogen source for plants. The plants then absorb these nutrients and act as a filter to clean the water which is then recirculated back to the fish. And this cycle continues as long as the system stays in balance.
Some of the benefits of Aquaponics are the rapid plant growth rates which have been shown to be ~30% faster than conventional plants grown in soil. It is also a practice that uses ~90% less water than conventional farming. And on top of that – indoor operations can use a high rotation program that allows for up to 28 crop rotations per year on the main beds. This is achieved by more time being spent in seedling and transplant areas which require a fraction of the room when compared to the main growing space. This means the crop production per square foot can be >300% higher with Aquaponics farming when compared to conventional farming. Oh yah, and another benefit, its completely organic by design. Chemicals used in conventional farming cannot be used in Aquaponics because it will kill the fish.
While Aquaponics has its challenges, more and more farmers are adopting these techniques and beginning to perfect these systems and moving into a larger commercial scale with increasing success rates. We expect to see in the coming years more utilization of these techniques and more innovation coming from them including going vertical, roof top growing, aeroponic versions of aquaponics and so many more. We at Greater Greens are excited to be part of this journey to further the studies and advancement of this Farming Technique and prove that they are a viable option to feed the world while reversing our overall footprint.