This man-made symbiosis can solve the food crisis
And these 3 startups are leveraging it in different ways
Aquaponics is the combination of rearing fish (aquaculture) and growing plants without soil (hydroponics) in a controlled, integrated, natural system.
As fish poop in the tank, microorganisms convert the waste into fertilizer for the plants.
The plant roots then suck up the fertilizer and naturally clean the aquarium.
The system uses a low energy LED light, designed to emit only the spectrum of light that plants need to grow.
This produces two to four times the crop yield per acre and uses 95 percent less water than traditional agriculture.
With aquaponics, you can grow multiple plants vertically.
If you have about four square feet of floor space, that’s enough to nurture about 30 plants of different species.
Aquaponics is ideal to grow food all year round and in cities where there’s lack of space, it’s a great alternative to grow food.
Let’s see how these 3 startups are leveraging aquaponics in different ways⬇️
Time to rethink…To feed the growing world population, global food production has to increase by up to 70% in the next 30 years. Rising temperatures and frequent droughts are making traditional farming methods increasingly unpredictable. Border closures, quarantines and disrupted supply chains due to COVID have made the situation even worse. To make crops less vulnerable to these social and environmental changes, we would have to rethink how our food is grown.
Open sourcing aquaponics…Aquapioneers are promoting sustainable urban farming in households, offices and schools through Aquaponics. This Barcelona based startup’s aim is to give every city resident the opportunity to start growing vegetables and fruits with zero expenses in minimal time. So they decided to disclose their initial code and all the drawings that will allow anyone to create a hydroponic garden at home.
Instead of buying the entire aquaponic system, the users can simply download the open source design files.
They can then tweak the design if required, buy the materials and the fish and construct it themselves.
Or they can just take the design to a local maker lab and get it made at a fraction of the cost of a new one.
In the making…The brand is also piloting another larger greenhouse–with a printable frame. It provides about 25 square meters of growing space–that could sit on city rooftops, producing more than 60 pounds of fish and around 660 pounds of vegetables a year. And guess what..this design will also be available open-source.
Where did you get it from…Unless you buy your food from local farmer’s market, the chances are high that it’s coming from somewhere far away. Food travels thousands of kilometers before it reaches our plate. Agriculture is responsible for 24% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and transportation within that is a major contributor.
Since 2019… Les Nouvelles Fermes have been working to create an Aquaponics model that can be duplicated on a larger scale and is economical in terms of water and energy. Started by 5 Bordeaux friends in France, at their current farm, they grow a mixture of leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables, in addition to raising rainbow trout (a species of fish).
Their primary objective is to be profitable and to feed the inhabitants within a radius of less than 20 km.
Their experimental aquaponics farm Pauline produces fruit and vegetables and rainbow trout for restaurants, retailers and supermarkets in the area.
And it was created on a plot that’s otherwise unsuitable for land cultivation.
More food and jobs…Pauline produces 20 tonnes of fresh produce and 2 tonnes of rainbow trout per year, and generates 150,000 euro in annual income for just 1,000 m² of surface area. Once their model is validated, they would then replicate it in major urban centres in France and Europe, with the possibility to restore abandoned land, while creating agricultural occupations.
In the past 50 years…India has seen a 5 fold increase in grain production- thanks to high-yielding crop varieties, better agronomic practices, and pro-farmer policies. But the rural areas in the country continue to face challenges like food insecurity and malnutrition. Also, the produce is transported across long distances and handled by several middlemen. As a result, its price shoots up by the time it actually reaches urban consumers.
Farmers of the future…The team at Eat Neat Project wanted to solve the water crisis and food shortage situation in India together. And Aquaponics had the solution to both- higher yield per acre of land and ~ 90% less water usage. Founded by Bharath Dayanand, they are on a mission to change the way people produce and consume their food.
They grow the produce close to the consumers, who get it within 4 hours of harvesting.
This helps reduce the waste and carbon footprint created by transportation of food.
As no pesticides are used, the food is good for your health and the planet.
For Aspiring Farmpreneurs…Bharath and his team also conducts workshops for people who want to set up their own aquaponics farm, where they teach everything from seed to harvest. And you don’t need any prior experience in agriculture to join these workshops.
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