Aquaponics is the integration of horticulture with fish culture in a closed system. Compared to traditional farming methods, it uses 2% of the water, 5-10% of the electricity and 1/8th of the land space. It is therefore considered to be the most sustainable system of food production in the world.
Systems can range in size from a few herbs growing over top of a fish tank to an industrial warehouse. One of the wonderful things about aquaponics is that a system can built anywhere where there is a shortage of food, water or space, such as remote Northern regions or sub-Saharan Africa. Even in our region of Muskoka, where we have a short growing season and rely on outside sources for our food supply, aquaponics can benefit communities by providing healthy, organic food all year long.
Our present goal is to create an aquaponic food production system prototype in a greenhouse that is sustainable, winterized, efficient, local, certified organic and food safety audited (Canada GAP). Our current system, which is in the final stages of development, is the third one we have built. It is much larger than the previous two, and incorporates several efficient heating and cooling systems, in addition to rainwater collection.
Our vision is to facilitate the development of aquaponics-based food hubs* in northern and possibly overseas communities, thereby creating jobs, increasing food security & sustainability, increasing the health and well-being of communities, decreasing reliance on external food sources, and decreasing demand on our province’s health-care system.
Once we have created a 4-season aquaponics greenhouse as sustainably and economically as possible, we hope to share our knowledge with others who are interested in enhancing food security in their own regions, or their own backyards.