Every day at some moment I realize how little I know, about so many things! Today was no exception when I visited the EcoLife Conservation in Escondido! And here's what I learned:
The EcoLife Conservation is an organization dedicated to a "world in which people and nature prosper together." Their focus is on integrating community health and environmental sustainability through simple adaptive approaches.
One on those simple adaptive approaches is "aquaponics". Aquaponics is a sustainable farming technique that combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants). It essentially is growing fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in. The third factor in that system are the microbes (nitrifying bacteria) and composting red worms that thrive in the growing media. They do the job of converting the ammonia from the fish waste first into nitrites, then into nitrates and the solids into vermicompost that become food for the plants.
By combining the two farming practices, aquaponics capitalizes on the benefits of each one of those individual farming systems and virtually eliminates the drawbacks of each of them. Aquaponics uses only a fraction of the resources required by conventional farming to produce the same amount of food. Additionally, it uses only 10% of the land and water, and has a much smaller carbon footprint than a traditional farm. Finally, the aquaponic systems that Ecolife Conservation have created require very little space and uses very little energy(on location all the systems are powered by solar energy).
Since 2010, the Ecolife Conservation also has been working on creating aquaponic systems for homes and villages, located in developing areas of the world, where the vast majority of hunger occurs. Closer to home, in Escondido they give "how-to" workshops. Aquaponics make a lot of sense here in drought ridden San Diego for the water savings alone!
The Ecolife Conservation also offers a classroom and home aquaponics kit, the ECO-Cycle® and has distributed over 300 ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kits™ to schools throughout San Diego County. They work to engage teachers and students in ongoing workshops and curriculum development around aquaponics.
I'm sure that you want to learn more! So take a look at their website or better yet set up a workshop for your organization or school! You can bet I'll be back because I have to know everything about everything!