Our Edible Suburb has ALWAYS been about optimizing small spaces for gardening and farming. We’ve also been focused on being good stewards of the earth and treating God’s creation with respect. With each passing day, I become more convinced that Aquaponics and Aquaponics related methods are the key to the future of small space, back yard, limited acreage and urban farming. Aquaponic methods are water wise, energy efficient (though not yet fully sustainable, but we’re working on it) and kind to the earth.
The systems we’re designing and building now, utilize a combination of floating raft systems and self watering containers and their larger cousins, wicking beds. Wicking beds of different sizes use only a fraction of the water of traditional earth gardens or raised beds. Because the water stays in the system there is no leaching or runoff. By utilizing captured rainwater we can minimize city, county or well water use as well. And by composting our donkey and rabbit manure as well as using coconut coir rather than peat, we have extremely sustainable sources for our growing media.
Plants can be much closer together because they don’t have to compete for nutrients. There are plenty to go around. The earth is not destroyed. There is no tilling to erode topsoil. There are no chemical fertilizers to damage ground water and chemical pesticides are not necessary to control pests. Imagine for a moment, a bed full of summer squash with no squash bugs to fight. That is entirely possible with an aquaponics system.
B and I have realized that on our 6.5 acres with our dairy goats, rabbits, pigs and aquaponics systems we can produce around a ton of pork, half a ton of goat meat, a ton of tilapia and redclaw crawfish and many thousands of pounds of vegetables and fruit. We will even be able to keep a dairy cow and an annual feeder calf. I can”t calculate the milk products and by-products like soap yet, because we’re just too new in that field, but the potential is very high. I haven’t even touched on rabbit meat, chickens, eggs, turkeys, worms or compost. The potential is mind boggling.
It will be a slow process, because we don’t do debt and we don’t have any investors, but the future is very bright. Our goal continues to be to ‘feed the world while we heal the earth’, but we also want to teach others how to do the same. I am convinced that the average American family can cut their food bills in half by growing some of their own food. I believe this is possible with a space as small as the average back deck. And again, aquaponics systems are the key to that belief. Stay tuned for details on an upcoming e-book on that subject.
Have you tried your had at aquaponic gardening yet? Have you considered it? Would you consider it? Would you buy Tilapia, crawfish and ‘fresh water lobster’ from a local provider if it was available? I’d love to hear your experiences and your thoughts. Please do share.