Aquaponics is a blend of hydroponics (growing plants in water) and aquaculture (raising fish). This is a new and “innovative” idea, although has been around for centuries. It is resurfacing in our modern world and attracting many people.
Whether it is aquaponics, hydroponics, vertical gardening, or aeroponics etc, there are increasing ways that people are looking to get creative with their homesteading goals and trying to produce food for themselves in the most efficient way.
Many people turn to a method like aquaponics because they believe that this system is superior as far as being sustainable both economically and environmentally, compared to conventional methods. It offers people more ability to be able to produce locally.
According to TheAquaponicsDoctors.com, “It is estimated that there are 3,000 to 5,000 hobby and backyard aquaponic systems in the United States and more than 5,000 in Australia.”
Also, more people want to grow their own food. It is almost impossible for everyone to move out of the urban area and start farming. Moreover, there is not much arable land because of industrialization and growing population. Aquaponics offers more flexibility and solution to the drawbacks in traditional farming. It is emerging as more sustainable and profitable way of horticulture.
As a result of this technology and flexibility, the opportunity to promote local and fresh food is available to anyone.
The factors which are making aquaponics popular includes:
Drought & Water Conservation:
The water-saving feature is one of the reasons why Aquaponics farming has become popular nowadays. With the aquaponics system, the system is able to recycle the water, so that people who use this system are able to grow in areas where there isn’t much water etc. Areas affected by droughts have made aquaponics very appealing as it requires up to 90 percent less water than conventional growing methods. It can be observed in Australia.
It’s an ideal technique for those with a limited space. With growing population, urbanization and industrialization, arable land is also depleting. Also, many countries have less land and they have no option but to import the food. Which makes the food more costly and less fresh. The flexibility offered by aquaponics through use of vertical space has enabled us to grow more food from the lesser land.
GMOs and Inorganic Food:
With an increase in concerns related to GMOs and inorganic food. So many people want fresher, more organic foods and are going to new alternative lengths to get them. These systems are cost efficient as they recycle water and use organic nutrients, and plants are freed from diseases and pesticides that are commonly associated with soil, among other benefits.
Lesser pests and labor:
With this type of growing method, there is also going to be fewer pests that you will need to deal with because the operation is indoors. Not only that but it has also been claimed that the plants grow much faster this way than they would with conventional methods, it is said to grow faster because of the naturally fortified water thanks to the fish. Many say that this growing method is the future of food production.
Potential of scalability
Aquaponics systems can be scaled from large-scale commercial operations to backyard setup or even smaller betta tanks. But it is clear that this growing method is not only convenient but it also produces a variety of benefits, which is why more people are looking to get involved with it.
Online popularity trend
The popularity of Aquaponics can be depicted through online searches people made on Google. Have a look at the following picture
It can be seen that popularity is at the peak in 2013. But still growing while comparing with 2004.
Popularity by Geography
Top Ten countries where aquaponics is popular are Trinidad & Tobago, Australia, Mauritius, South Africa, Jamaica, Philippines, United States, Puerto Rico, Kenya, and Qatar.
Through the advent of social media, more people are connecting through Facebook groups, Forums, and communities.
Not only are a number of universities in the United States now researching the area of aquaponics. but many people around the world are starting to use these systems not only in the developed areas.
It has been estimated that 1,000 schools in the U.S. are using aquaponics to teach basic sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics) and applied sciences such as fish husbandry, horticulture, fish and plant nutrition, fish and plant physiology, water quality testing, water treatment, etc.