by Sami Grover, Carrboro, NC, USA 04.13.11 FOOD & HEALTH (botanical)
From Backyard Greenhouses to Huge Aquaponics Project: Writing over at the Utopianist, Anna Loza brings us news of The Root Center’s Garden of the Future aquaponics project planned for The National Gardening Association’s Vermont Garden Park. Having completed a pilot phase of their project, in which the group established eight backyard sites located in seven different cities and grew 2600lbs of fruit and vegetables on a total of 1/10th of an acre, the Root Center is moving into phase II of its Garden of the Future plan:
The plan is to build a passive solar heated domed greenhouse, about 45 feet in diameter, which will house the team’s working spaces while sustaining a year-round fish pond and creating a thriving natural habitat. And this is where things get interesting. Water containing fish waste will be cycled up to planters stacked within the dome which will use the waste as food; the water comes back clean to the fish pond, where bacteria self-regulate pH. This self-sustaining system will produce fruit, vegetables, flowers and fish on a year-round basis — and it will be the continent’s first organic fish farm to boot. The only inputs into the entire system are fish food and seedlings — the aquaponic garden essentially transforms that fish food into fresh produce.
Wind and Solar-Powered Aquaponics
This isn’t just about efficient food production though. The greenhouse will be designed for winterized, passive-solar heating, and the systems will be powered by innovative vertical axis wind turbines constructed by engineer and board member David Allard. (Todd Ecological of ‘Living Machines’ fame are also deeply involved with this project.)
Head on over to the Utopianist for more pictures, images and video of the Root Center’s Garden of the Future project.