Aquaponic Farming – A New Way Of Agriculture To Feed The Hungry Planet

The need for food to feed the planet is growing every day, and there is no simple solution for addressing this problem. To add insult to injury, the world is also going through climatic changes, environmental disturbances and also shortages of resources. On top of that, there are several political unrest and global issues that also affect us all. We are all suffering from the crisis of having fewer amounts of food, energy resources, and sustainable livestock. Although there seems to be no perfect solution to address all the global problems and shortages of food, the ancient methods of producing more food and yielding more crops through aquaponics can be a great way to increase the amount food production globally. Aquaponics, which is also known as Hydroponics, is a technique of growing plants on water through a steady supply of nutrients through a pump or flow of solutions. Growing food through aquaponic agriculture does not require great amount of land or resources, and can be a great solution for sustainable agriculture. There are great new methods of aquaculture that can increase the amount of food to feed our planet, and can be especially profitable in places where water and transporting other resources for agriculture such as heavy machinery, and fertilizers may be costly. Transportation costs for farmers can be an added burden which can be easily avoided. The Aquaponic techniques of farming are not to be taken lightly. A single container farm can produce enough food to support a family of several people for a year. Just imagine how much families can save on food by growing simple produce...

Intern Profile: Jason Sather

Hello Everyone, My name is Jason Sather, and I am one of the new interns here at Nourish the Planet in Loveland, CO.  I graduated from Prescott College in 2012 with a B.A. in Sustainable Community Development with an emphasis in Ecopsycology and a strong breadth in Earth Sciences. Now 34 years old, I have spent much of my adult life working in the construction industry with experience as a professional plumber and carpenter, among others.  I like to tell people I build things and fix things.  With what I have learned in extensive undergraduate studies encompassing topics like agroecology, earth system science, adventure education, psychology, and sustainability I like to think that I can help fix some of the problems we face as human participants in this more-than-human world while building new systems that help us make sense of our place in it. It wasn’t until my first collegiate environmental science class in the late nineties that I was introduced to the effects my life had on the world around me.  The ideas that were introduced there created a chain of events that have widened my perspective of the world, and led me here to Nourish the Planet.  Along the way I have learned much about our world and the human effects on it.  Sustainability has become for me much more than a goal, it is a way of life. For me sustainability is about responsibility and some sacrifice.  It is our responsibility as humans being the most impactful species on the planet to be humans doing the most to be sure that our actions and effects do...

Intern Profile: Adam Smith

Hi, my name is Adam Smith. I grew up in a small town in Michigan, graduated from Kalamazoo College in 2011 with a BA in physics and math and recently moved to Boulder after a stint working on sail boats (I’m a licensed captain). Beyond sustainability and aquaponics, I play a lot of ultimate Frisbee, home brew, and enjoy getting outside, obviously. When did you first become interested in sustainability? I first got turned on to some of the bigger ideas of sustainability working on my senior project in high school which involved building a biodiesel reactor and designing passive solar buildings for our campus. I really caught the bug and have been trying to learn more ever since. What are the most interesting/important things that you’ve learned since being an intern at Nourish the Planet? It’s been great to see the procedures in place for monitoring the various systems. My past experiences with aquaculture and hydroponics have been very hodgepodge, seeing a steady-state system is great. How do you incorporate sustainability into your life? My biggest commitment to sustainability is that I try not to consume excessively. I like to live frugally and make or reuse things rather than buying them new. What do you want to see change in the world in the next 10 years? I think the biggest improvement would be if people start to rethink our transportation system. It’s bigger than driving better cars or even biking though, you have to also look at how cities are laid out and really redesign the whole built environment. It’s one of the big areas where change...

Intern Profile: Starin McKeen

I grew up in Colorado and can’t seem to stay away. I first moved to Buffalo, NY to accept a synchronized swimming scholarship at Canisius College, but returned to complete my B.A. in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology at CU Boulder in 2009. My interests shifted away from neurobiology and towards Food and Nutrition Security throughout college, but really developed into a passion as an intern with PROINPA in Bolivia. My experience working with selective breeding of plants at the Molecular Biology lab in CoChaBamba and working alongside community and agricultural development agents in the community of Toro Toro in the rural Andes convinced me to join the Peace Corps. I just returned from serving as an Environmental Action and Food Security Volunteer in Togo, West Africa and am looking forward to applying my combined food security, science, and community development experience in the context of Aquaponics at Nourish the Planet. In my free time I nerd out over good music, playing in the mountains, the electric cello, and all of the amazingness that being back in the U.S offers, while simultaneously daydreaming of the many adventures left to be had in all the many places still to be discovered. When did you first become interested in sustainability? I remember coming home from an afternoon at the World Water Day celebration on the CU Boulder campus as a 5th grader and declaring that I would never waste a drop of water EVER. I’m a little more realistic these days… My first run-in with conservation has since grown into a more holistic and complex understanding of sustainability, and with it my...

Soil Salinity Effects on Crop Production and Society

History has shown that an increase in soil salinity results in a decrease in crop productivity, and ultimately, the struggles to sustain a community.  One of the earliest and most major occurrences of an increase in salinity happened during 2400-1700 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, now southern Iraq.  Irrigation projects were built for agricultural purposes, but the resulting increase in soil salinity left the fields so salty that they were unable to grow enough food to sustain their communities.  Many of the great cities dwindled down to small villages or were left in ruins.   This same process is occurring in California, specifically the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.  The San Joaquin Valley, which makes up the southern portion of California’s Central Valley, is among the most productive farming areas in the United States. However, salt build-up in the soils and groundwater is threatening its productivity and sustainability.  Another example is with the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea.  Irrigation water comes from the Colorado River and is very high in salt.  The runoff from irrigation water flows to the Salton Sea.  With no outlet, the Salton Sea’s salinity has continuously increased as the water evaporates.  According to California Agriculture Online, three factors contribute to salinization: 1.  All irrigation waters contain dissolved salts, with concentrations varying considerably according to the origin of the water. 2.  Plants extract negligible amounts of salt, so the soil solution becomes concentrated as water is removed by evapotranspiration. 3.  Water quantities in excess of evapotranspiration must be applied to leach salts beyond the root zone to prevent reduced crop yields. In areas where salinity...

Intern Profile: Stephanie Lynn

I grew up in Indiana and moved to Colorado in 2007.  My educational background is in agronomy and pharmaceutics from Purdue, and environmental engineering from Colorado State.  I have always enjoyed science and math and I love to apply those principles to the real world.  I also enjoy spending time outdoors observing the world around me.   When did you first become interested in sustainability? I became interested in sustainability during one of my plant breeding classes at Purdue.  The professor was from Africa and he often gave real examples of how many people around the world struggle just to be able to eat and drink.  These struggles were the result of environmental, educational, economical, and/or cultural factors.  What are the most interesting/important things that you’ve learned since being an intern at Nourish the Planet? I have only been working a couple weeks now, but I have already learned about the dynamic interactions between the plants, aquatic life, and water.  In school I was taught about these interactions, but to be able to actually witness this first-hand is extremely valuable from an educational standpoint.   How do you incorporate sustainability into your life? I have always incorporated the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), but recently, I have been getting into growing my own garden.  I really enjoy learning new things and developing new skills.   What do you want to see change in the world in the next 10 years? I would like to see the world take a little time to observe what is around them – to appreciate what they have, and to learn to use their local resources in...