Thursday, February 18, 2010

New York Times: Backyard Aquaponics

Is it really possible to create a closed-loop system that grows vegetables, fish, and fits neatly in your yard? In addition to the commercial-scale aquaponics operations happening all over the country (in places like Milwaukee's Growing Power and our local Feed Denver) there are lots of backyard gardeners that are making use of this system of growing.

Aquaponics uses 80-90% less water than traditional gardening, and grows the plants in a symbiotic relationship with fish, such as tilapia. The fish provide nutrients through their waste, which then nourishes the plants. Families can enjoy not only year-round produce, but healthy protein as well.

"There a 'Beyond Thunderdome' quality to Rob Torcellini's greenhouse. The 10-by-12 foot structure is undistinguishable on the outside: he built it from a $700 kit, alongside his families Victorian-style farmhouse in Eastford, Conn., a former farming town 35 miles east of Hartford. What's going on inside, however, is either a glimpse at the future of food growing or a very strange hobby -- possibly both..."

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