Image credit: The Urban Conversion
Whether we are talking about plans for industrial-scale warehouse aquaponics, Growing Power's community-focused urban aquaponics, or the wealth of DIY backyard aquaponics enthusiasts, there is no shortage of people dreaming big about the potential of aquaponics (the marriage of aquaculture and hydroponics) to help feed the world sustainably. Nevertheless, most practitioners I've come across still seem to be figuring out how to make it work—and how to make money doing it. One Colorado outfit, however, looks further along the line than most. And we get to take a tour. Based out of a location called the GrowHaus in Denver, Colorado Aquaponics is offering aquaponic system design, business planning and consultancy services, as well as a series of workshops. The company's own system is currently producing tilapia and fresh veggies, including tomatoes, watercress, salad greens and more—and as the video below from the Urban Conversion shows, they are just about to venture into trout farming too.
Of course the debate remains whether aquaponics is cruel or not but as long as human beings are raising fish on farms, it makes sense to put their waste to good use. The other question that needs answering is that if aquaponics can really pay for itself, then when will we start seeing more enterprises based on the actual growing of vegetables and raising of fish—rather than the dissemination of knowledge? The answer to that one will surely come one way or the other, and my guess is that rising energy prices, transportation costs and peak phosphate may have something to do with it. Aquaponics may or may not be commercially viable in the context of our current economic system but, then again, conventional agriculture is looking decidedly shaky when it comes to the future.
Check below the video for some more reading on aquaponics.