[permaculture] Aquaponics + Biogas + Green Business = Food & Energy Independence

Jason Gerhardt jasongerhardt at gmail.com
Tue May 3 15:03:05 EDT 2011


I'd be very interested to hear others thoughts along the thread of
aquaponics being "one of the most sustainable" agricultural systems ever
created. I really appreciated hearing Darren Doherty's thoughts about that.

I'll go ahead and admit my weakness: I haven't been convinced of aquaponics
sustainability. I am convinced that it is an extremely productive system. I
currently oversee a small two-tub aquaponics demo that my students built and
take care of, so I am familiar with the concept and function. It seems the
materials that it takes to set up such a system embody huge amounts of
energy (including the greenhouse structure itself).  As an urban set-up to
use converted warehouse space in overly industrialized areas with toxic soil
it makes great sense. Beyond that I am not yet willing to generalize it as
an extremely sustainable form of agriculture. Naturally, it probably depends
on the methods one uses. It seems particularly subject to power outages and
equipment failure though.

I also should note that I'm NOT suggesting aquaponics shouldn't be done if
it is proven to be unsustainable, just that we might want to choose
different language when generalizing about it. For example, I love the
benefits of a greenhouse, but I'm not going to suggest it is one of the most
sustainable forms of growing. It's just nice to have fresh food all winter!

And aquaponics could be the holy grail of agriculture, but I'm not convinced
yet. I'd like to hear about other models, that use gravity more than pumps,
soil based media instead of hydroton, or more chinampas like scenarios.

Anybody have thoughts they want to share about this...

Jason



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