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.

Fresh Food Challenges


The vast majority of the food grown in the United States is grown with harsh chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, making it a huge challenge to provide a family with natural food! Consumers may find regularly eating natural food to be difficult and frustrating, yet trying to eat healthier and to eat cleaner is more popular than ever. Although the desire is there, actually eating clean is much harder to achieve due to the lack of access. Our busy lives just don’t allow the time to go from store to store hunting for quality ingredients!

Additionally, because most of our food travels large distances from field harvest to plate, it’s debatable how fresh any of it is by the time we see the produce on the shelf. Ideally, there would be better access to fresh, real food.

The Aquaponics Game Changer

basket garden

Growing your own food has always been a preferable option to store-bought produce, but a great number of people simply do not have access to the amount of land necessary to grow a garden. Aquaponics is different. Even if you can't grow a houseplant, you can grow your own food. If you can plant your seed, feed your fish, and harvest your bounty, you can empower yourself and your family by growing your own food with aquaponics in just minutes a day. Above all, with aquaponics, you know the quality of your food because you control what goes into it.

By allowing fish to do the majority of the work, you can efficiently grow food for your family or community. Aquaponics provides access to fresh food to anyone who has the desire. Food can be grown with aquaponics year-round indoors with artificial lighting, or outdoors in a greenhouse, or outdoors seasonally in your backyard, porch, or patio.

Tablet Garden

Finally, thanks to developments in aquaponics technology, the days are past when only large or rural landowners could grow the food supply. With urban aquaponics, clean, fresh food can be accessible to populations in the food deserts of the concrete jungle as well as your local grocers and restaurants. Aquaponics can be the key to a fresher food source! With aquaponics, it only takes a small amount of space and a little time to grow your own food and support your family’s health! 

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