Wikipedia defines a famine as a widespread scarcity of food caused by several factors including war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance, or government policies (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Famine). Although many of us don’t believe that we’d be faced with famine, the reality is that we rely on the industrial food production system to provide our nutrition.
The mass production of crops, livestock and fish has relied on science and technology to increase production and to minimise cost. Not only are many of the methods employed leading to food becoming less nutritious and, therefore, a health risk, but also making it an unsustainable way to grow food.
Water Scarcity and Reduced Soil Fertility
Water and soil are essential for traditional methods of food production. The increasing scarcity of uncontaminated water is a result of pollution caused by industrialisation, as well as, climate change. In South Africa rainfall is predicted to be more infrequent. Cape Town, a major metropole, came close to running out of water in early 2018. Currently, 12% of South Africa is suitable for rain-fed crops.
Only 3% of of South Africa is considered truly fertile land. Soil fertility is affected by the overuse of synthetic fertilisers and chemical pesticides. These chemicals also have the effect of polluting water supplies, poisoning the environment and exposing farmworkers to toxins.
Good Farming Practice
- Protect natural ecosystems – limit the impact of invasive alien plant species that suck up more water; control erosion and pollution
- Promote the diversity of agricultural species and avoid monoculture and genetically modified crops
- Rehabilitate and maintain natural water sources
- Eliminate the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides
Aquaponics is a method of producing vegetables and protein by combining hydroponics and aquaculture. An aquaponic system is a sustainable way of growing food. It makes use of the excrement of a fresh water aquatic animal (fish, prawns or crayfish) to create the fertiliser for the hydroponic plant based portion of the system. A symbiotic system is created where the excrement from the animals being raised are converted into nitrates by nitrifying bacteria. The nitrates are consumed by the plants as nutrients thus cleaning the water which is returned to the fish tank.
A Sustainable Solution
An aquaponic system can be set up anywhere in the world. It can be scaled from a backyard unit to a commercial farm. Furthermore, it can even be setup to grow food in an artificially lit environment. The hydroponic portion of the system does not require soil as it makes use of flowing water to supply nutrients to the plants.
An aquaponic system requires only 10% of the water that a traditional soil based system consumes. Only the water that is lost through transpiration and evaporation has to be topped up. In advanced systems where an enclosed greenhouse is used, the water lost through evaporation and transpiration can be trapped and fed back into the system. A greenhouse also reduces the impact of pests. A greenhouse, also makes it possible to grow seasonal crops all year roundand to grow crops in extreme cold environments, Visit https://www.ecobuiltsystems.com/ to see a unique geodesic dome greenhouse.
Because the aquaponic system has fish in it, no chemical pesticides or herbicides can be added to the system as that would be detrimental to the health of the fish. A greenhouse reduces the impact of pests and are usually free of weeds and diseases that would affect soil. This allows for a consistent and high quality crop to be produced. All methods used in the aquaponic system must be organic and natural to ensure the health of the fish and plants.
The United Nations defines food security as the condition in which all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. They’ve identified the four pillars of food security as availability, access, utilization and stability. An aquaponic system fulfills all four criteria and it can be can be utilised by YOU!
Brian is passionate about building a better society for all. He is a Healer and Life Activation Practitioner in the Modern Mystery School . He firmly believes that it is through healing at a fundamental level that we progress on our path to fulfillment. For more information send an email to Brian@LiminaLucem.co.za