[permaculture] Is This Aquaponics Then?

Toby Hemenway toby at patternliteracy.com
Mon Jun 8 19:24:28 EDT 2015

BTW, I don’t mean anything I say as a denigration of Steve; it’s not personal, and I’m trying hard not to let ad hominen words slip in (apologies for when they have). In fact, the people who are intelligent but don’t see things the way I do, like Steve, are doing me the great service of making me work my way through my ideas in a more thorough way. If I thought Steve wasn't trying to set high standards, I wouldn’t be replying. I’ve learned a lot from this. 

The “natural versus artificial” argument has intrigued me for decades. It first struck me when I realized that 150 years of fire suppression in North America had created a very different species mix in forests, yet still considered wild and natural, than the several millennia of burning by native Americans that had maintained equally healthy—or even more healthy—forests of very different composition. Given that, what was a “natural” landscape? Neither. You’d have to go back to the one here before native Americans arrived, which was post-glacial tundra, which is surely not “natural” now. Natural is just a word we use to make dynamic processes hold still so we can understand them. It’s a thinking tool, not a tangible thing.

> On Jun 8, 2015, at 2:44 PM, Scott Pittman <scott at permaculture.org> wrote:
> Since most of our edible plants evolved from soil based growth, which is an
> aerobic condition, they have co-evolved with certain soil based
> micro-organisms.  This condition is one that has provided the basis of the
> evolution of the nutrient content of most of our edibles.  If we change this
> to an anaerobic environment it must surely change the relationship from
> aerobic micro-organism to anaerobic micro-organisms and thereby have to
> change or modify the nutrient content of the target plant.

My understanding is that the ebb and flow of the nutrient solution in aquaponics creates an aerobic environment. The plants are not in standing water; it’s circulating. either splashing (oxygenating) in the continuous flow method into the grow tanks or being oxygenated by drain-and-fill method. Also, the plant roots are emitting oxygen, creating an aerobic rhizosphere.


Coming in July: my new book on urban permaculture, The Permaculture City. Pre-order it at on-line booksellers or at http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/the_permaculture_city/

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