These days, everyone is all local this, sustainable that. While it's great that the world is waking up to the benefits of a local, sustainable food system, it still has a long way to go.
Yeah, we're buying fruit and veg from farmer's markets as much as possible. We're trying to buy locally caught fish. Even so, it's hard to get anything that is 100% sustainable.
If it's local produce, there's a high chance it contains pesticides or chemical fertilizer.
If it's fresh caught seafood, it could easily be a product that is over fished.
You get the point.
Well, South Florida is about to see one of its most sustainable fish and produce options yet. Enlightened Aquaponics at Marando Farms is a closed loop system that provides--you guessed it--sustainable fish and pesticide-free vegetables.
Owner Collin Bennett of Enlightened Aquaponics set up the system. Basically, it has been designed as a closed loop: the fish provide the fertilizer--i.e. fish poop--which feeds the plants and the plants in turn filter the water before it goes back to the fish.
This particular set-up holds tilapia--an omnivorous fresh water fish--but any fresh water fish could be used with similar results.
Just one pump is used to bring the water up to the first of three holding tanks of fish: gravity takes over from there. The first tank is the highest point in the system. Each tank is placed slightly lower than the last, using gravity to push the water from one tank to the next.
Upon departing the third--and final--fish tank, the water runs into pvc pipes which are directed toward the plants. The plants absorb the nutrients from the fish's excrement, which, in turn, cleans and filters the water for the system.
The process continues to repeat itself from there. Clean filtered water is returned to the fish tanks, which continues to feed the plants. No toxic waste clogging up estuaries. No antibiotics. And no need for explosive petrochemical fertilizers: a truly sustainable system.
The fish at Marando Farms will be ready for harvest in about 4 to 6 months time. Currently, the koi used to start up the system are being for sale--they're about 12 inches long at the moment.
If you would like to learn more about aquaponics or have interest in a purchasing a system of your own, check out Enlightened Aquaponics facebook page here.
To see the system head to Marando Farms. It is located at 1401 SW First Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.
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