Aquaponics is the growing of fish and plants together in a symbiotic system. Basically the fish create waste that serve as nutrients for plants, and the plants clean the water, which re-circulates back to the fish. In a world straining to feed people sustainably, aquaponics is an old solution (used by the Aztecs and Chinese) that is garnering renewed interest around the world.
While aquaponic systems range from commercial scale to small, indoor setups, there is an exciting newcomer in the indoor arena called Aqualibrium. This New York City-based company raised over $150,000 in a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring their Aqualibrium Garden to market. Here’s the scoop.
The Aqualibrium Garden lets you:
- Grow fresh, organic vegetables. Because the plants are nourished by the fish water, no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers are needed.
- Grow herbs, teas and flowers. If leafy greens are not your thing, the possibilities for growing plants in the Garden are endless.
- Save time and money. Your veggies grow in your home (or office or school). There’s no need to run out to the store for salad makings.
- Benefit from year-round cultivation. The limitation of a “growing season” is gone. You can grow plants continuously because the system comes with its own lights, growing medium and tanks.
- Enjoy a work of art. Last but certainly not least, the Garden is lovely to look at. Inspired by the work of futurist designer Jacque Fresco, the Garden is a “living sculpture.” Researchers have long known that watching fish lowers your blood pressure, and plants both clean the air and create a pleasant display. Stressed out when you get home from work? An Aqualibrium Garden may just calm you.
At the same time, the Garden gets high marks for sustainability because it’s:
- Highly energy efficient. Energy-sipping LED lights add to whatever sunlight you have.
- A closed loop system in which waste from fish becomes food for plants. Remember the circular economy? This is a wonderful example of that in action.
- Much more water efficient. You’ll eat fresh lettuce, green beans, tomatoes and more using a tiny fraction of the water that conventional farmers use to grow the same plants.
- Low maintenance. While you can’t completely “set it and forget it” (these is a living ecosystem), most people spend just a few minutes a day on maintenance.
- Space-efficient and scalable. An Aqualibrium Garden can fit into a studio apartment. And you can snap on additional tanks if and when you wish.
Says Sam Rittenberg, one of the principals at Aqualibrium,
“Our vision is to help bring about the day when – in the same way that every home and apartment has an oven, a refrigerator, and a stove – that every home and apartment will also have an indoor garden that will allow for the growing of fresh food. We want an indoor garden to be thought of as ordinary and necessary as the kitchen sink.”
So check out the Aqualibrium Garden – wherever you live. It’s another example of an innovative green business bringing good food and beauty into to people’s lives for a minimal cost.