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HEMMED In – Green Food

June 19, 2010

HEMMED In

HEMMED In – Green Food

Today we spin that green whirley thing on BPI’s state-of-the-art HEMMED (High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector) machine and come up with a green topic: aquaponics.

Moving towards the new Green Economy that values sustainable usage and renewable resources requires that we look to better ways to create our own body’s fuel not just the fuel to power our transportation and electricity needs.

From wikipedia: “Aquaponics is the symbiotic cultivation of plants and aquatic animals in a recirculating environment”.

In Realworldia, it is a science that can work towards breaking our culture of dependence on highly energy intensive means of food production.

From the wiki article:

The University of the Virgin Islands Aquaculture Program has developed an aquaponic system through over 20 years of research into its design and operation. The system can produce over 10,000 lbs. of tilapia annually and a variety of vegetables that are harvested weekly in staggered production (lettuce and basil) or as needed by other fruiting crops (okra, cantaloupe, peppers, tomatoes etc.) The aquaculture program promotes several principles of aquaponics that can be applied to any size system, from hobby-scale to commercial-scale.

The University of the Virgin Islands Aquaculture Project link provides a lot more information about the process but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

UVI Chart

Again from the wiki article:

Aquatic animal effluent (for example fish waste) accumulates in water as a by-product of keeping them in a closed system or tank (for example a recirculating aquaculture system). The effluent-rich water becomes high in plant nutrients but this is correspondingly toxic to the aquatic animal.

Plants are grown in a way (for example a hydroponic system) that enables them to utilize the nutrient-rich water. The plants take up the nutrients, reducing or eliminating the water’s toxicity for the aquatic animal.

The water, now clean, is returned to the aquatic animal environment and the cycle continues. Aquaponic systems do not discharge or exchange water. The systems rely on the relationship between the aquatic animals and the plants to maintain the environment. Water is only added to replace water loss from absorption by the plants, evaporation into the air, or the removal of biomass from the system.

A recent article in the Wisconsin State Journal: A Madison-area company has become a leader in aquaponics discussed a couple who worked with the UVI group and are selling and teaching aquaponics:

Rebecca Nelson and John Pade have one simple goal as their company grows and moves to a new facility along Highway 23: They want to feed the world.

They don’t plan to do that with anything they grow in their greenhouses. It’s through the development, education and selling of products for aquaponics that their company — Nelson and Pade Inc. — seeks to make a difference in the way people grow or acquire food.

Aquaponics is the combination of two practices: aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). Fish waste provides the nutrients the plants need, all in one integrated system.

“We’re trying to reinvent the 21st century family farm and make it profitable,” Pade said.

[snip]

They have also been working with people from developing nations, which may have water or soil challenges to growing food with conventional agriculture.

“They all worry about food security and this is a system they can install,” Pade said.

We owe it to ourselves and future generations to start looking now at all the possibilities for moving towards a future where sustainable, renewable, recirculating, reusing and recycling are taken for granted. And so that when we look back on the Consumption Society of the past 30 years it is only as a story we tell our grandchildren as the “not so good old days”.

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Happy Saturday to everyone! And fist bumps.

  • NCrissieB

    Wow, that is very cool. It seems like another example of biomimetics, where human-designed systems are mirror natural systems to encourage, and work with biological patterns. And right there in North Central Blogistan! Very cool indeed!

    • JanF

      Yes, I am thinking I need to take a field trip to the Virgin Islands in January to observe the aquaculture in person. Do you think there is any money in the faculty slush fund projects budget?

  • LakeToba

    I don’t know… my first thought when I saw this was Soylent Green

    • JanF

      That’s funny! When I was writing it I almost put something in about “Green Food…Not ‘People’” but I had already put my serious hat on and had to finish in that vein.

      But I had to admit that pictures of Charlton Heston came unbidden into my brain. ;-)