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5 Ways to Make Effective Food Production Changes this Earth Day
“Many of us live our lives trying to lighten our footprint all year, but Earth Day gives us a yearly reminder to look at trying to do something even better,” explains Sylvia Bernstein, president of The Aquaponics Source, and author of the book “Aquaponics Gardening: A Step-By-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together” (New Society Publishers, October 2011). “If even a small percentage of us started aquaponic gardens it could really add up and lead to a lot of positive results for the planet as a whole.”
There are many things that starting an aquaponic garden can do to help the environment. Here are five things to consider this Earth Day regarding aquaponic food production:
• Necessarily organic produce – If you use pesticides or herbicides you will harm your fish and bacteria. If you use hormones or fish medicines you could harm your plants. An aquaponic system necessarily produces food that is free of chemicals. It can’t work any other way.
• Grow using 1/10 the water of dirt gardening – Because the water in an aquaponic system is recirculating rather than seeping into the groundwater, aquaponics uses far less water than traditional soil-based gardening. It is also far more water thrifty than hydroponics because the nutrient solution is never dumped and replaced.
• Turning a waste disposal problem into a valuable input –Aquaculture treats the waste the fish produce as a harmful bi-product to be disposed of. Aquaponics turns that around and treats the waste as a valuable input into the plant growing part of the system. In nature there is no waste.
• Growing plants hydroponically without hydroponic chemical fertilizers – Aquaponics offers the benefits of hydroponics – fast, closely spaced growth in a dirt free, weed free environment – without the need for discharging chemically saturated nutrient solution on a regular basis.
• Growing your own food – The average distance most produce in the U.S. travels is 1800 miles. When your food comes out of your backyard no fossil fuel is used to transport it.
“There are so many great ways to make a difference,” added Bernstein. “Learning about aquaponics, and starting your own aquaponic garden, will help reduce your carbon footprint, help the planet, and keep you feeling great for being a part of the solution.”
In addition to Bernstein’s book, she is owner of The Aquaponics Source center, located in Longmont, Colo., 15 minutes NE of Boulder. The center focuses on all things Aquaponics, featuring a retail store, education center, and reserch and development lab. The classes will teach people how to be successful with aquaponics, while the retail store will sell all of the necessary supplies, including aquaponics systems and aquaponics plumbing kits. For more information, visit the site at: www.theaquaponicsource.com.