Today we talk about the organic benefits of Aquaponics

By Jonathan Trease

Hello! This is my first post with the folks at Organically In, and I hope that it brings a fresh perspective and piques some curiosity. My name is Jonathan; I’m an entrepreneur in Aquaponic organic foods, just starting my business in Half Moon Bay, California. I have a long way to go bringing the system on line and introducing my first crops to market. I intend to share my experiences and some information on what we mean by “organic” along the way. It’s a huge topic that comes with a wide variety of perspectives.

I have been working and playing in organic food production for a long time now, and am completely thrilled with the direction the market is going. People are choosing nutritious, tasty, local, clean foods increasingly every year. How we produce those can take a variety of forms to be called “organic”. There are three major types of systems that I’d like to focus on today: the soil-less methods of Aquaponic, Hydroponic, and Bio-Hydroponic.

Soil free?Really? Yes! Plants don’t actually need “soil” to grow to their full selves – they need nutrition, sunlight, and water. These three techniques are changing the face of food production: speeding it up, bringing it close in to market, reducing  the food-miles traveled, and reducing drastically the inputs and resources needed to develop the produce and keep it free of pests and diseases.   It’s a wonderful trend that you can feel positive about.
Each of these techniques has advantages and challenges, and I’ll be writing about those at length, in future articles. For now, let’s define them:


1) Hydroponic means the growing of produce in a solution of nutritive pools of oxygenated water which recirculates. Often, the plants are suspended in an inert medium, such as clay pebbles or gravel, or simply floated on rafts, while the solutions move around them.


2) Bio-hydroponic uses all of the physical techniques of hydroponic, but addresses one of its challenges.  Rather than using a bath of chemical fertilizers (salts), bio-hydroponic uses a crafted blend of “aerated compost tea”. The fertilizer is all natural and non-toxic, and can be recirculated rather than dumped/drained, as hydroponics is required to do on a regular basis. Bio-hydroponic solutions have other pros and cons, but the key difference is a living, bacteria-fed solution of compost tea, rather than an artificial, sterile nutrient solution.


3) Aquaponic combines the techniques of hydroponics (or, bio-hydro more closely) with aquaculture, the raising of fish. By creating a symbiosis between the fish, using the bacteria to alter the waste into plant food, and placing that in a hydroponic system, essentially we can manufacture our own nutrients “on-site”. The symbiosis of plant and fish can be combined in a recirculating system, similar to bio-hydroponic, saving water and culturing powerful bacteria to feed the plants.

I’m personally most excited about Aquaponics, and will be sure to discuss the details in future posts. For now, you’ve possibly learned a new term, and should know that many bright minds are working hard to solve the challenges of our food production system, to great success! These techniques are revolutionizing the organic food industry, and the future is incredibly bright for each of them.

All the best, and I’m looking forward to sharing my journey with all of you!

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