They say “you are what you eat,” but how can you know exactly what you’re eating when you don’t know where your food came from or how it was grown? The produce on your plate could easily be genetically modified and nutrition experts have already questioned the health effects of altered seeds and species. Moreover, it’s practically impossible to know whether the vegetables you’ve bought have been treated with toxic pesticides, unless they are certified organic. While there are organizations that provide this certification in India, this produce is extremely hard to find as it has not infiltrated local markets as of yet. And even if it was available, this produce is likely to be less affordable than regular produce. At least, that has been the case in countries where organic farming has already taken off.
The only solution, it would seem, is to grow vegetables at home. But even that comes with its difficulties. For those of us living in cities, where space and congestion pose problems, it seems like there is no viable solution to the problem of ensuring you know where your food is coming from (or that it’s within your budget).
So what would you say if someone told you that it actually is possible – no matter where you live or how much space you have?
If you’re already reading this blog, you probably know something about aquaponics. But even among those who do know a thing or two, the one thing that most people don’t know is that aquaponics systems can be used right inside your home – even in your kitchen!
Every aquaponic system is unique; in fact, most are designed to meet the needs of the grower. The system is fully customizable whether you want to put it outside on a balcony, near a window, along a fence, or in a spare room. Aquaponics systems can be any size at all – from a 1000-fish system in your backyard (if you have one) to a 4-fish system in your kitchen. All you have to do is ask yourself one important question:
What do you want to grow?
If space is a constraint, you will not have the option of growing a huge variety of vegetables as you would in a backyard garden. But, you can grow a selection of veggies that you eat often. All varieties of vegetables can be grown side-by-side in an aquaponics system and luckily, these systems require about 1/8th of the space of a traditional garden. So you can grow a lot more in a compact area. It’s possible to choose from a wide array of vegetables including brinjal, tomato, capsicum, cucumber, salad greens, and herbs such as coriander, mint, curry leaves, or green chili. (Oh, and don’t forget you’ll get fresh fish every now and then, too!)
Aquaponics is one of the best urban farming solutions out there. Here are some of the benefits:
- The freshest produce on earth, right to your plate.
- Aquaponics systems are self-regulating; only the initial setup is required and then the system practically runs itself.
- If you’re worried about your water consumption, aquaponics systems require only 1/10th of the water input of a regular garden or even houseplants. The water in the system can be reused. Only the water that evaporates from the system needs to be replaced, and that can be done by harvesting rainwater.
- Aquaponics systems are a sustainable, long-term solution to providing food for yourself and even neighbours. Once you make the initial investment of building the system (which can be done using household items), buying the fish, the fish food, and the seedlings, you won’t need to spend anything else.
- All produce grown in an aquaponic system is organic. There is no need for pesticides or insecticides and the produce is far less susceptible to disease.
- Vegetables can be grown all year round, so you’ll have a solution to getting fresh vegetables literally 365 days of the year.
So, there you have it! Grow vegetables at home using aquaponics and all your vegetable woes are solved!