Aquaponics is (almost) a closed loop, soil-less farming method that can be done anywhere, all year round, producing plants and fish.
The system recirculates water and nutrients, making it about 90% more water efficient and prevents nutrients leaching. There is no chemical run-off, because it doesn't use any chemicals. There is no soil degradation or diseases, because we don't use soil.
It uses natural biochemistry in it's purest form - bacteria that doesn't need to be introduced by humans.
It is also very space efficient, meaning we could create food and re-wild at the same time.
Why is this important?
- There is projected to be a 40% water deficit by 2030*.
- We will also need to produce about 50% more food by 2050**.
- We've already lost 33% of arable land in the past 40 years to erosion or pollution***.
- And we've only got 60 years of harvests left from fertile soil, anyway****.
This is worldwide.
Importing food has huge environmental and human costs, that we effectively "export" by buying it in (64% of our greenhouse gas emissions related to farming are abroad). 70% of our cropland is abroad, a serious risk given the UK' s current market position*****. Local food, with local inputs, will never suffer these market risks.
This exacerbates a disconnect between the consumer and food production - the only interaction most people have is with supermarkets.
Of course there are challenges. Namely the sourcing of fish feed and electricity. Finding and executing the most efficient packaging and distribution is also very important in the bigger picture.