Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Food Farmer Earth: Hydroponics + Aquaculture = Aquaponics
In my interview for Food Farmer Earth with Ann Forsthoefel of Aqua Annie, she explains why growing plants and fish together is a sensible way to produce food.
Growing up, Ann Forsthoefel’s family owned a small, three-acre parcel of land that supplied most of the family’s food. She joked that her mother invented permaculture, the au courant term for caring for the land and the animals, insects and plants that live on it, because it was the only way she knew how to farm in the days before corporate agriculture took over the food system.
Now, her home on a standard city lot in Portland has more raised beds and chicken runs than lawn, and she started a CSA (community supported agriculture) for her neighbors during the growing season. There’s also the burbling sound of water, but instead of a typical backyard water feature, it was coming from structures filled with flourishing plants fed by water pumped from nearby fish tanks, even on a cold day in late winter.
It’s obvious she’s excited by aquaponics, the growing of plants fed by nutrients from fish, which in turn provide a source of food when they reach maturity.
“There are so few inputs compared to growing crops in the soil,” she said. With her gardens, she’s constantly building up the soil that is depleted at the end of each growing season. The beauty of aquaponics, she said, is that there isn’t that constant work because the fish are giving nutrients to the plants.
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This week's kitchen segment, naturally enough, is a recipe for Southern Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies. To get regular updates on local producers featured on Food Farmer Earth, consider a free subscription.