May 14, 2013
I'm all about making things easier to do and more accessible to the public. So I was very excited when I had the chance to meet with Nikhil Arora, co-founder of Back to the Roots, whose AquaFarm is getting ready to debut to the public. You may know the company for its home mushroom kits, but if you want to get a taste of where sustainable food production is going, AquaFarm can help make that possible. The aquaculture ecosystem is a closed one, making it self-sustainable. In essence: fish produce waste, which is toxic at certain levels. The tank cycles the water to the plants at the top which draw upon the waste to feed the plants. And it's the clean water that gets recycled into the tank for the fish, and on and on it goes. Arora also pointed out that aquaponics uses less water than traditional land farming and is much more efficient. The compact system makes aquaponics easy to do in the comfort of your home, office, or classroom--really, any place that gets sunlight and has an electrical outlet. The AquaFarm kit makes it almost foolproof; all you need to do is pretty much add water. Ok, that might be an oversimplification but the kit will include all the basics to make it happen: one 3-gallon tank; basil, lettuce, and wheatgrass seeds from Seeds of Change; pots in which to grow the seeds; water conditioner, fish food, gravel for the tank (as well as the pots); and a coupon for a betta fish from Petco. Just one single betta fish will generate enough waste to sustain the five plants. You can currently pre-order the AquaFarm for $60, but starting in June, it will be available for purchase at Nordstrom's and Whole Foods, and in the fall, at Petco.
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