Aquaponics, a system of farming that uses no soil, also uses far less water than traditional agriculture. But while the technique is gaining attention, it remains a very niche way to grow produce due to economic limitations. Special correspondent Cat Wise reports from Half Moon Bay, California.
Interest is growing for aquaponics—the combination of aquaculture (farming aquatic species) and hydroponics (soil-less plant culture). This interest comes from a diverse group including backyard hobbyists, non-profits, and commercial ventures. And it’s easy to understand the allure. Aquaponics produces sustainable, locally grown fresh produce, using recirculated water, and combines knowledge from various disciplines including animal husbandry, plant ecology, pest management, and engineering, to name a few. There are also a variety of opportunities for aquaponics as a teaching tool for students, entrepreneurs, and veterans. Particularly in California, aquaponics represents a drought-smart method of food production, where water use can be as little as 10 percent of conventionally-irrigated terrestrial crops.