Fishy Farm out of Hillsboro, Oregon has created both an indoor and outdoor aquaponic-horticulture-vermiculture system that can grow food and raise fish all within the comfort of your humble abode or backyard. While non profits like Growing Power and businesses like Sweet Water Organics have brought aquaponics into the limelight on a larger, more industrial scale, Fishy Farm appears to be one of the first to take this technology straight into the hands of the consumer.
The company took advantage of the escalating locavore food movement and interpreted it quite literally. As their website explains, “More people are buying local produce and realizing the health benefits of eating chemical-free and pesticide-free foods. Fishy Farm takes this one step further – you can’t get more local than food grown at home!” Consumers can grow herbs, flowers and veggies while raising edible fish such as rainbow trout, catfish, tilapia and perch or simply keep aesthetically pleasing tropical fish.
Fishy Farm’s automated gardening system is weather-proof, modular, and expandable. They consider their product professional grade equipment because instead of a traditional plastic liner, they use a FDA-approved coating that generates a waterproof seal. This coating has a rough texture that allows for more surface area which is advantageous to bacteria and to the nitrification process that helps keep the fish and plants thriving.
The ecosystem is stabilized by the Continuous Ebb & Flow architecture, which gauges and regulates the nutrients in the water and raises the level of dissolved oxygen accessible to the fish and plants to keep them healthy. This constant water exchange not only minimizes water wasted via the recirculation of water, but also provides steady filtration to ensure a safe environment for the fish. This design does away with the need for a timer control that is normally used for when the bed floods in a conventional aquaponic system.
The outdoor series was just introduced last month including products with a combination of aquaculture (fish), horticulture (veggies) and vermiculture (worms) — the only work required of the owner is to feed the fish and harvest the plants. Their compact systems, for indoor or outdoor use, are also low maintenance and the growing bed is moveable, allowing full access to the fish tank for inspection and harvesting. Fishy Farms can hold as little as 50 gallons all the way up to 700 gallons, with systems ranging in price from $499-$1,499.
Considering the long-term economic and environmental costs of producing, packaging and shipping food from halfway around the globe, this kind of investment might just be worth the price. While certainly no match for the industrial-agriculture giants of the world, DIY food growing systems like this are a step in the right direction for helping to create more sustainable, local food production systems and empower people to grow their own food.
Related 3P Posts: