Aquaponic Gardening

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As my Montonegra winter renter always says "different question".  He is 92.  Here is my different question, What does sustainability mean to you and what are you doing to bring it to fruition ?  This morning while collecting soursop fruit under the tree I had an epiphany ( a moment of sudden revelation or insight).  "Sustainability is happening at my farm."

I am raising chickens both for the meat and for eggs.  This sustains me but I must somehow sustain the chickens.  I am raising water hyacinth, duckweed, azolla, honohono grass, and BLACK SOLDIER FLY LARVAE to sustain the chickens.  Now we have to sustain the plants and the BSFL.  I built a pond from my old pool and raise the water hyacinth in the pond.  By the way I put Tilipia in the pond and hope to produce fry.    The hyacinth  is fed to the chickens and provide food and shade for the fish.  I grow honohono grass in the aquaponics to feed fish and the chickens.  Azolla and duck weed feed the fish and are grown in the aquaponics.  When grown in large enough quantity they will help to feed the chickens also.  I eat the fish which sustains me.  The fish provide all the nutrients to feed the plants which in turn feed me. 

But how do we sustain the BSFL long term?  That is where I started.  I was collecting soursop fruit which are like icecream to the BSFL.  They also eat the vegetables that we get free from the ecofeed people who are paid to get rid of vegetables from the grocery stores.  This brings up another subject "How wasteful we are in this country.  I am not going there now I have to go to work today and it would take a long time to write up.  I feed these vegetables to the BSFL which are flourishing. They are proving the protein to the chickens.  The chickens are so happy they have this food.  They reward the tree by their manure on the ground.  The trees flourish and provide fruit which I eat but also feed to the BSFL because of the abundance of the fruit.  As soon as I produce enough BSFL  I will go back to feeding them to the fish which love them.  Then I think if I could produce enough I could trade them to the other aquaponic and chicken farmers for the food I don't produce myself.

As I see the picture of sustainability at my farm, I am being sustained, the fish, plants, chickens, BSFL, trees, and the soil are being sustained at the same time.  It makes a complete  circle.  It would be great if others could give a little story of how they are working on sustainability.  I forgot one thing My aquaponics is helping to sustain the water table in Hawaii so that we have enough to drink.

I have learned a lot from these blogs.  The one that sticks with me most was "What I Learned After the Storm".  Mahalo Nui Loa Sylvia for starting this site.  It has been a blessing and an education to many

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Comment by George on May 7, 2013 at 4:15am

It's an interesting subject for sure.  I love the concept of permaculture, many things working together, as written about by Raychel.  

AP sustainable?  It's debateable.  What do you do when the power goes out or a pump fails?  Sustainable for how long, a year, a generation?

Comment by Sylvia Bernstein on May 4, 2013 at 9:08am

Raychel, my friend, you are an amazing woman who has created an absolutely amazing, sustainable(!) ecosystem on your homestead.  Wow!  

To answer your question, I think there are many, varied, and legitimate definitions of "sustainable" my favoritey is  is any process that takes what would otherwise be considered the "waste" output from one system and uses it as the beneficial input to another system is sustainable.

Anyone else?

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