Aquaculture and Hydroponics Bring Fresher Food to Urban Areas
Getting fresh food year-round has been a challenge of humanity for pretty much as long as humans have existed. But new methods of growing food and raising livestock are changing the options available for people living in cities.
With advancing hydroponics technologies and products, more people are able to grow food in smaller spaces. Things like greenhouses and small but efficient irrigation setups allow growers to maintain stable environments for both plants and small animals, like fish.
Here are some of the benefits of urban farming and how combining hydroponics with aquaculture makes a sustainable food cycle.
The benefits of urban farming
These technologies provide opportunities for more people to enter the food production industry on a more local and sustainable scale. It also allows urban dwellers access to fresher food and reduces environmental pollution.
How? By growing the food close to where the consumers will purchase and eat it, those who don't live close to farms can get food just as fresh as if they did. And because these urban consumers are buying their food at places like local farmer's markets, they are reducing dangerous emissions in the air by reducing the need for transporting food long distances.
It's also a great learning opportunity for urban children. They otherwise may not have access to watching how their food is produced. But with growers nearby, these children can learn more about where their food comes from.
And in the end, consumers have greater transparency about where their food comes from and how it's grown than with food that has been transported from a non-local grower.
Combining aquaculture with hydroponics is an efficient way to provide food
Aquaculture, at its most basic, is raising fish in tanks. It's somewhat similar to hydroponics, and in fact can be combined with hydroponics. Here's how:
The fish create waste that contains nitrogen. Plants need nitrogen to grow. So urban farmers that are both raising fish and growing crops can use waste from the fish tanks as fertilizer for their plants. Additionally, water from the aquaponics tanks can be used through the irrigation system to water the plants. These processes save growers money, and those savings can be passed on to urban consumers as well.
The interesting thing about many urban farmers is that they did not study agriculture or grow up in a farming community. Many of them are self-taught or changed careers from some other field of expertise.
With all of the information available online now, pretty much anyone can learn how to grow their own food using hydroponics or aquaponics technologies. You can check out some of the basics for setting up your own simple indoor hydroponic garden with our previous article, “What You Need to Know When Building Your Own Hydroponic System”, or take a look at “Hydroponics Ideas for Small Spaces”.
Whatever kind of hydroponics setup you want to start, you can find the materials you need at The Tye-Dyed Iguana.