Aquaponics: Fresher Food in Smaller Spaces

 The modern version of an ancient food production method could be the solution for fresher food!

Sponsored by Perpetual Food Company
January 2018

You may have heard of aquaponics and thought that it was some cool, new way of growing food, but few people know that the Aztecs were growing fish and plants together in harmony long before recent usage of the process. The Aztecs would plant earthen rafts and float them on fish-laden waters, allowing the plant roots to access the robust nutrients found in the water below. 


Today’s raft aquaponics systems are conceptually the same as the Aztecs’ rafts but much easier to access and operate. The major difference is that today we raise fish in a fish tank. The fish, by breathing and excreting waste, create a toxic environment for themselves so we circulate the fish wastewater through grow beds. Grow beds, the containers that hold the plants, are where the plant roots dangle in the water and access the fish waste that is their source of nutrients. Think of the plant roots as the filter that cleans the water for the fish.

You might say that modern aquaponics is an ecosystem in a man-made container: The fish make the waste that makes the fertilizer, and the plants use the fertilizer and clean the water for the fish! The byproduct of this fish and plant relationship is fresh food that anyone, anywhere, can grow, regardless of how much space you have or your level of gardening experience.