Our New Aquaponics System

When I saw the display of yellow daffodils at the grocery store the other day, I knew that winter was almost over and it was time for daylight savings and warmer days. That tells me that Spring is right around the corner.

This spring, we are on an exciting journey to introduce new products to the Good Earth Plant and GreenScaped Buildings family.  Our new aquaponics project is starting small but we are hoping to be up to full-scale production soon.

I met with Bill Toone, who runs a non-profit called ECOLIFE and was blown away by what he’s doing. Bill started his non-profit making rural stoves for those in Central Mexico whose health was suffering because of indoor cooking fires. Bill and his team have created more than 400 safe, fuel efficient stoves in Central Mexico and this summer in Uganda to protect both individuals and the surrounding eco-system.

Conservation and quality of life must ultimately go hand-in-hand. ECOLIFE is unique in that each of our programs is intimately linked with both a community of people and a notable endangered biological resource or species,” says Bill Toone, ECOLIFE Conservation.

We are partnering with ECOLIFE to help support their efforts and a new product that embodies the purest form of symbiosis: fish, water and food. We have its small-scale aquaponic system, the ECO-Cycle ™ in our lobby and soon will have a medium-sized system out back growing catfish and larger edible plants.

In our micro-scale example, the idea is simple: use a 20-gallon aquarium with tropical fish to produce food for growing basil and chard on the top of the aquarium. The water from the tank is filtered and cleaned as it washes through the roots held in small containers of clay pellets. All of this coming from a self-contained system that comes in a box complete with grow lights for indoor use.

Think even bigger. What about a full scale system set up with catfish grown to dinner plate size, produce like lettuce or broccoli to harvest – all using less water and nutrients than conventional farming techniques? And what about putting this system in an area of the world where soil is poor, water is scarce and fish and vegetables can provide a large portion of a healthier diet? Brilliant! We LOVE it! And so we are enthusiastically jumping on Bill’s train in the hopes we can offer this system to our customers in the very near future.

Make sure to come to our Open House and Plant Sale on Friday, April 19, from 11: 30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and we’ll show you all our new products including aquaponics.

Many kudos to Kelly Gorman at Petco who provided us with the aquarium, filter and stand for our project. Now we know why that’s where the pets go. They’re great! And for more information on Bill and ECOLIFE, please visit their website at www.ecolifeconservation.org  You will be so impressed by their work.

See you on April 19 at our Open House and Plant Sale!