September 24th Meeting

Again this week, our own Debbie Merrill gave a fascinating presentation


Again this week, our own Debbie Merrill gave a fascinating presentation on Aquaponics. She quickly convinced us that it a sustainable solution to feeding our over populated planet. She warned that we are running out of water globally. She reminded us of the Florida sink holes caused by aquifers being drained. Similar conditions exist in India and the Mexico City area. China is even importing fresh water from The Great Lakes.

Aquaponic systems do not typically discharge or exchange water under normal operation, but instead recirculate and reuse water very effectively. The system relies on the relationship between the animals and the plants to maintain a stable aquatic environment that experience a minimum of fluctuation in ambient nutrient and oxygen levels. Water is added only to replace water loss from absorption and transpiration by plants, evaporation into the air from surface water, overflow from the system from rainfall, and removal of biomass such as settled solid wastes from the system. As a result, aquaponics uses approximately 2% of the water that a conventionally irrigated farm requires for the same vegetable production.[citation needed] This allows for aquaponic production of both crops and fish in areas where water or fertile land is scarce. Aquaponic systems can also be used to replicate controlled wetland conditions that are useful for water treatment by reclaiming potable water from typical household sewage.[citation needed] The nutrient-filled overflow water can be accumulated in catchment tanks, and reused to accelerate growth of crops planted in soil, or it may be pumped back into the aquaponic system to top up the water level.” (From Wikipedia)

As an example Deb described a 1/10 acre plot in Pasadena that produced 6,000 lbs. of vegetables She also reminded us that the ancient Romans cultivated oystersb

Tilapia, that the NY TIMES described as the “perfect factory fish”, is the perfect match for aquaponics.. Their food conversion ratio is 1.5 to1 as opposed cows at 1 to 8.  They thrive in the stable aquatic environment and you get to eat them!