Aquaponics has been flying under the radar, but with world consciousness re-localizing itself and communities rethinking local food production, aquaponics is poised to grow in popularity.
A $10.7 million commercial aquaculture operation is coming to Columbia County. This bodes well for the aquaponics-hybrid concept to take off in upstate New York, where there is plenty of space, and also in urban areas where commercial aquaponics systems can be fit into spaces as small as 8,000 square feet.
Alex Wilson, founder of BuildingGreen and Environmental Building News, wrote recently: “In an aquaponic system, wastes produced by fish become beneficial fertilizer for hydroponically grown plants. The beauty of aquaponics is that it offers a balanced nutrient cycle that does not require the addition of fertilizers. It also solves one of the significant problems associated with aquaculture: what to do with fish waste.”
Aquaponics brings fresh, organic, pesticide- and toxin- free seafood and produce to local consumers. It uses far less water than regular farming and prevents fertilizer and pesticide pollution. It takes the locavore concept of buying food grown within a 100-mile area one step further by creating a new manufacturing base that supports the local economy.
Someday soon, mom-and-pop tilapia farms will be hidden in lofts in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and in barns upstate—not to mention four-season hydroponic greenhouses growing fresh produce throughout the year.