Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) and hydroponics (growing plants in water). Aquaponics is a labour free, sustainable and healthy method of growing vegetables and raising fish.
Aquaponics is a sustainable method of growing vegetables. It uses approximately 10% of the water that conventional gardening does without the need to use fertilizers and other plant aids.
Aquaponics is a brilliant way to keep your family healthy by growing organic, fertilizer-free vegetables. Let nature do what it was meant to do!
Aquaponic systems are easy to run. There is no weeding, no watering and no back breaking labour involved. All you have to do is feed your fish!
What is Aquaponics?
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Aquaponics involves the production of food by managing a whole aquatic ecosystem, the functions are multiple:
Aquaponics reconnects people with nature and time: Having an ecosystem in the backyard will transport you in a journey between plants, fish, insects and much more. It is a perfect way to bring nature into the city. The impact of vegetables on the human behaviour and mood is still largely unknown but most of us recognize the benefits of spending a weekend in the countryside. Nature reconnects us with who we deeply are. There are too many occasions in life where we don’t feel at the right place, where we doubt if we are doing the right thing. Personally, when I am gardening or when I am in contact with nature, I simply feel good and stop worrying and asking questions to myself. My mind becomes clear, and I can enjoy the present moment at 100% as I know that I am at the right place doing the right thing. The society we live in could be defined as a race (even a “rat race”) where we continually need to go faster towards a goal that is always going further and finally seems unachievable. Nature reconnects us with time and soothes the soul. Nature grows at her own pace and when we connect with nature, we can feel the natural pace. It is like a reference point that prevents us from turning mad into the society rat race. Nature reminds us that the destination is not so much important but we must enjoy every present moment of every instant of the journey. It makes us appreciate the present moment and for me this is actually a very close definition of happiness. It allows us to simply understand that aquaponics brings happiness into the city and the person who is open and shows an interest for the natural ecosystem will be highly and deeply rewarded. This approach can lead to a wide range of applications where nature would be seen as a tool to treat anxiety, depression and other diseases. There is a real tendency to incorporate more nature into the hospitals and retirement houses where patients can use the natural interaction as an effective treatment as well as a source of motivation and happiness. I see aquaponics as a perfect way to introduce or reintroduce nature into the lives of those patients in hospitals, kids in schools, prisoners in jails and many other areas where the individual deeply needs this beneficial connection to learn, enjoy and find his own deep balance.
Teaching tool: Aquaponics can be used as a perfect support to learn a very wide range of subjects such as biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, environment and much more. The approach can be applied from a young age in kindergarten. Most urban kids have no idea where the food they got in their plate comes from. With aquaponics, they can see the plants and fish growing and they can understand the place of each species into the ecosystem, they also understand the real value of food. All subjects can be studied in more depth in primary school and in deeper detail in university. Aquaponics can impassion children as it involves animals, water and plants. It helps them to learn as they see it as a game. People are designed to learn through games, again this is our natural way to learn things, and any study subject must be motivated by a deep interest to stimulate the learning process. The problem of our general education system is that it is based on theoretical facts and students have difficulties to picture and soon lose interest for the topic which leads to poor results. In basing the study on a concrete and attractive support such as an aquaponics setup, the students are directly able to see the application and the aim of the study. They can learn without barriers, increasing their focus and the results are significantly improved.
Aquaponics produce healthy food: The current food model of society is not working. People tend to concentrate in big cities and to import food produced by industrial intensified agriculture from the four corners of the planet. The environmental cost of this system is huge and the nutritional value of the food we consume is often very poor as the vegetables are grown on extremely poor soil, picked immature and ripened in a refrigerated environment. Most of the time, the food is treated with a cocktail of pesticides and as the French philosopher, “Pierre Rabhi” says so well: “instead of wishing “bon appetite”” (the French equivalent for “enjoy your meal”) “we should wish ourselves “good luck” because we are actually eating poison and we will need a lot of luck to not fall sick…” It is slightly ironical but I think it describes very well the situation we are facing. Producing your own food is almost becoming a necessary survival skill for the environment and for ourselves. The nutritional value of the food we produce in respect of the environment and natural cycles is phenomenal and will fulfil our needs without the use of supplements. By eating vigorous food from the garden to the plate, we preserve all the vitamins and energies that it contains, we can directly absorb the constituents of this healthy food and transmit life to our body. see our video on the subject here.
Aquaponics is a feature in your garden: like any ornamental pond, an aquaponics ecosystem can be very attractive and plays the role of a real feature in the garden. It can be designed with style and integrated into the landscape and general design of the house. This function is becoming a key point of urban aquaponics.
Aquaponics can also be turned into an outdoor furniture. The creativity of the aquaponics designers have no boundaries. It is often used as a bench or a table and the applications are limitless.
We have seen here a non-exhaustive list of the functions that an aquaponics setup can have. Each aquaponics user will see different functions in this aquatic ecosystem and whatever your primary reason to start aquaponics, you will certainly find many more functions in your setup than you initially thought you would, and you will enjoy every facet of it.
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