Today’s fresh food is oftentimes impregnated with more chemicals than anyone actually wants to admit. Sure, organically grown food is taking off in the western world as compared to the low initial levels earlier during the century, but it still constitutes a minor part of all the purchased green produce and is regarded as too expensive by the masses. At the same time, in other parts of the world there is an overall shortage of nutritious food due to growing conditions. What if there was a solution to change all that?
Aquaponics is a popular concept used amongst urban agriculture and sustainability enthusiasts. With the potential to provide fresh, local, and organic fish and produce, it could be a highly resilient form of agriculture. However, according to Agritecture it has been hard to commercialize the technique, especially in North America. The challenge of growing healthy produce consistently enough to establish a business is hard enough, bring in fish production and your level of complexity increases significantly.
The conceptual idea behind Aquaponics can be described as a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (growing plants in water). This creates a symbiotic environment and a small, isolated ecosystem where pesticides and fertilizers become redundant. Since the excretions from the animals are fed to the plants, there is no accumulated toxicity in the water and the plants become naturally fertilized. Now, a newly formed venture wants to take this acclaimed solution to the masses.
Renaissance Farms is a company started by two friends who share the common goal to help eliminate hunger in the USA. They’ve created an Indiegogo campaign ($250,000 pledged) with the hope of building a sustainable aquaponics farm in shipping container buildings, and fresh, healthy food will be produced in the complex. Additionally, for every pound of food sold to consumers, one pound will be donated to local food banks and outreach programs. Crops could grow plenty, since the system can provide the using community with a growing season of 365 days. Using a closed-loop system of aquaculture, Renaissance Farms will also be able to produce farmed fish using waste to supply all the necessary nutrients to grow their veggies via hydroponics.
The venture has a noble mission in mind and it encapsulates efficiency as well as food equality among the earth’s inhabitants. As the company’s founders tell the futuristically aimed website Serious Wonder:
“Renaissance Farms has been designed from the ground up to be the highest yielding, lowest cost per square foot farm found anywhere in the world. At the end of the day, Renaissance Farms is all about democratizing access to nutritious, fresh food (similar to what the Internet did for access to information).”
Renaissance Farms does not plan on patenting their creation. Instead, they encourage everyone else, in each community, to build on their idea and perfect it. This means that the concept can be deployed wherever it is necessary or useful, and can be transformed into a solution that best fits the community in question.
While in developed nations there is the problem of overeating, other parts of the world continues to suffer from malnutrition and starvation. Renaissance Farms and its aquaponics solution can help fight both problems with one concept. Everybody on this planet should be entitled to healthy food with adequate nutritional value, free from the harmful chemical substances that pass down generations.