Grow Your Own Food

Published on April 11th, 2014 | by Mary Gerush


Very Cool: Aquaponic Farming On A Really Small Scale

AquaFarm: Home AquaponicsI just started an aquaponic farm. On my kitchen counter. Seriously! Thanks to the folks at Back to the Roots and their ingenious AquaFarm.

I just bought one of these modern-looking fish tanks that grows food. It’s a self-cleaning fish tank that grows food on top. The beauty of aquaponics is clear: Fish produce ammonia-rich waste. Beneficial bacteria in the water convert ammonia to nitrates, which is great for the plants, which suck the nitrates in through their roots, feeding themselves and cleaning the tank at the same time. Aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional agriculture, making it a sustainable alternative for growing food.

We just set up our AquaFarm last week — we already have wheatgrass, lettuce, and basil reaching toward the sky. (I swear you can hear the wheatgrass grow.) The kit came with everything we needed to start growing — except the fish of course. Put the gravel in, add water and one fish (Betta recommended), and put the planting container on top. The container has five plant baskets that you fill with Growstones, which are these really light, rock-like objects that absorb water and serve as the growth medium for the seeds. When we put seeds on top of the stones, I would not have imagined they would sprout. But sprout they did! And our new fishy friend Gus (short for Snuffleupagus because he’s an Elephant Ear Betta) seems to be quite content in his new home.

Back to the Roots also sells a product that helps you grow your own mushrooms on the kitchen counter, which I’ve tried and loved. I can’t wait to see what these clever kids come up with next!

The AquaFarm is $59.99 with free shipping on the Back to the Roots web site.

If this intrigues you, check out these other aquaponics systems you can buy or build at home:

If you give this a go, let us know how it goes!

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About the Author

Hi all! I'm Mary Gerush - a recovering corporate worker bee turned good-farm-real-food advocate and writer who wants to help people understand what they're eating. I tend a tiny urban farm in Dallas, TX, and hope to scale up one day soon. Omnivore through-and-through, there's not much I love to eat more than a butter-basted grass fed steak fresh from a searing hot cast iron skillet. Follow me on , , and !

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