Recirculating farming

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Doug Oster’s May 26 article “Recycled Aquarium Water Benefits Goldfish and Seedlings” highlights home aquaponics, a soilless method of gardening that pairs hydroponics (growing plants in water) with raising fish (aquaculture). Readers should be aware that aquaponics is more than a rewarding home hobby — it’s also an innovative form of agriculture that produces fresh, healthy foods in an ecologically sound way.

Aquaponics is a type of recirculating farming and is what it sounds like — a way to grow food using constantly cleaned and recycled (recirculated) water. Because these farms are closed-loop systems, they can keep parasites and diseases out more easily, reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides or other harmful chemicals. Because recirculating farms use water rather than soil as the medium to grow food, they are especially useful in urban environments, where soil may be paved over or contaminated. This gives city residents access to fresh, local, eco-friendly food and creates new green job opportunities.

An aquaponics system can be as small as a desktop, or much larger for family, neighborhood or community use. Even if readers don’t build their own recirculating garden, they can enjoy the fruits of this unique method of growing by supporting local recirculating farms. Pittsburgh’s own Shadyside Nursery, which raises tilapia, herbs and heirloom vegetables, is one of an ever-increasing number of recirculating farms operating across the country. We encourage readers to find a recirculating farm near them at www.recirculatingfarms.org/find-a-farm.

MARIANNE CUFONE
Executive Director
Recirculating Farms Coalition
New Orleans, La.

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