But what most people do not realize is that these high-tech farming methods are also very damaging to the earth and the atmosphere. As a matter of fact, a large portion of the land used for farming has already been drastically depleted of its natural nutrients that it is no longer considered viable for planting. If the world’s population continues to increase and we don’t change the commercial farming methods that are currently in use, then we will be facing a dire food supply problem sooner than we can imagine.
The good news is that there are other ways to raise crops without causing damage to the environment. One of the most feasible methods, the one that is actually already being used by some farmers in many parts of the world, is aquaponics farming. Simply put, aquaponics is the answer that the world is looking for in terms of sustainable farming.
So how does it work? Aquaponics is very different from traditional farming methods because it integrates plant and fish cultivation into one efficient system. There are two main areas – the fish tank and the grow bed – that are connected to form one complete cycle. The fish in the tank produce waste that is rich in ammonia. As the water from the fish tank flows towards the grow bed, the ammonia is converted into nitrates – an essential fertilizer for the plants. In turn, the roots of the plants filter the water so that it is once again suitable for the fish to thrive in once it flows back into the fish tank area.
It really is a relatively simple process but it is very efficient. It is also highly beneficial to the environment in many ways. For one thing, it saves a considerable amount of water because the water in the system is just in an endless cycle that goes from the plants to the fishes and back to the plants and so on. You would just need to replenish the water supply when some have evaporated over time.
The aquaponics system of sustainable farming also takes away the need for fertilizers and pesticides. There is also no need for vast areas of soil in order to set up an aquaponics system. In fact, many innovative farmers have set up perfectly functioning aquaponics farms on rooftops and even indoors, where they only have to add supplementary lights to facilitate the plants’ growth. There is also absolutely no waste from an aquaponics system. The fish wastes are converted into nutrients for the plants, while the plant wastes may be composted and used as food for the fishes.
Indeed, with all the advantages that an aquaponics system has to offer, it is quite surprising that it has not been discovered sooner. But for sure, there is now a fast growing awareness of the benefits of this system, both among private individuals and corporate farmers, so we can expect to see a major shift towards this method of sustainable farming in the near future.