Image credit: Eco Films Australia
From keeping stingless native bees to exploring the secrets of abundant, healthy soils, the folks at Eco Films Australia have some great permaculture-related content online. This latest one is no exception, offering a tour of an incredibly abundant looking aquaponics system (for the uninitiated, aquaponics is a combination of fish farming and hydroponics, where the fish poop feeds the plants). As we explore what grows, there are some pretty surprising finds. I know from personal experience that aloe vera doesn't do too well with over-watering, so how the heck is that aloe bush looking so lush and juicy, when it is essentially growing on a raft of nutrient-rich water? The fact that it is being looked after by Murray Hallam, pioneer of aquaponics and creator of the Aquaponics Made Easy DVD, might have something to do with it—but it does seem like aquaponics can provide a sound basis for growing a surprisingly large number of crops. (Not to mention edible fish.)
With commercial-scale aquaponics set ups still few and far between, and with questions ranging from whether aquaponics is cruel, to whether it is an efficient way to feed ourselves, it's worth taking the grand claims made by some advocates with a healthy pinch of sea salt. But there is nothing like seeing results for yourself, and I must say that Mr Hallam's garden looks pretty bountiful to me.
Of course that Australian sun can't hurt either...