In this episode of Aquaponics Academy, Dr. Nate Storey of Bright Agrotech dives into the history of aquaponics and how aquaponics has evolved.
Where did aquaponics begin?
Aquaponics is an ancient concept. From the Aztecs, who kept chinampas (floating agricultural islands), to the Egyptians, who often grew plants in the presence of fish waste, civilizations around the globe have known for a long time that fish and plants work well together.
When did it begin?
The modern practice of aquaponics has been evolving for the past 60 to 70 years.
How did it begin?
It first started as a water-cleaning effort. The idea was this: “There’s solid waste in the water. How can we clean it up and make something useful at the same time?” The answer was found in plants, which are capable of cleaning up dilute waste much more thoroughly and efficiently than man-build machines. Slowly, the idea of aquaponics as a remediation effort grew into an idea of aquaponics as a viable production technique. Research increased, but aquaponics as a commercial technique only occurred in a few places. Much of the growth in this field occurred on a hobbyist level, in what is now the “birthplace of aquaponics” – Australia. Very slowly, people started collaborating, and today there are tens of thousands of people practicing aquaponics.
What did it look like?
Aquaponics was originally practiced using media-based techniques. These medias included crushed granite, pea gravel, and rafts. Dr. Storey designed his vertical towers partly in response to these techniques and partly in response to the need for high density production.
How has it changed?
In the US especially, there’s been a shift from hobby growing towards commercial growing. Aquaponics is becoming more accepted as a solution to some of the challenges we face in modern agriculture.
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