Aquapioneers has developed what it calls the world's first open source aquaponics kit in a bid to reconnect urban dwellers with the production of their food.
Combining open source, digital fabrication, DIY, and urban farming, this startup's project aims to put the tools for zero-mile food into the hands of everyone. Aquapioneers, based in Barcelona, Spain, is focused on getting more people to grow more of their own food right at home, while at the same time enabling a 90% reduction in garden water consumption and a doubling of plant growth rates.
The Aquapioneers system resembles the Open Source Beehives project and the AKER open source urban ag kit in its construction, as the aquaponics plans are designed to be downloaded and "printed" locally with a CNC router at a Maker Space or Fab Lab, which keeps shipping costs and emissions down, while also allowing for easy assembly and a low-maintenance growing experience.
"With this system in place, carbon-intensive worldwide shipping is no longer necessary, reducing dramatically our environmental footprint and contributing to mitigate climate change. In fact only the data will travel, not the material" - Guillaume Teyssié, co-founder of Aquapioneers.
With this aquaponics setup, the entire growing ecosystem waters and fertilizes itself, thanks to the (almost) closed loop created by the conjoined 50-liter fish tank and 70 x 30 x 30 cm (~27.5" x 11.8" x 11.8") grow bed, which feeds the food crops with the waste from the fish while the plants' roots clean the water for the fish. The fish do need to be fed, and the Aquapioneer system is designed to employ an LED grow light, which requires an electricity input, but it could be illuminated by the sun instead, enabling the carbon footprint of food grown in it to be kept as low as possible.
"Cities are growing bigger and they lack sufficient space. Aquaponics comes as a perfect solution for this, as it allows vertical farming and utilizing unused public and private space." - Loic Le Goueff, co-founder of Aquapioneers
"We aim to revolutionize urban agriculture and promote food self-sufficiency in cities." - Le Goueff
Aquapioneers is currently in a crowdfunding phase in a bid to raise at least €15,000 to finalize and fully document the open source plans. Backers of the campaign at the $43 level will receive early access to both the design files for printing locally, as well as a manual for successfully operating an Aquapioneers ecosystem. The team will release the files into the public domain under a Creative Commons license several weeks after the end of the campaign. More information is available at Aquapioneers.