This article appeared in the AJC september 10th by Michelle Hisky, describing aquaponics in Georgia. Here’s an excerpt that mentioned projects I was developing here in Cabbagetown. It also included Brian Barth’s Tilapia operation in Decatur. Go Brian! Thanks for the write up Michelle!
“While rural Georgians have long fished for their supper in backyard ponds, the idea of raising fish to eat is catching on in urban areas including Atlanta — especially among “locavores” who want food raised nearby, without harmful chemicals or harming the earth.
In Cabbagetown, Dr. David Epstein, 50, has built a series of water troughs and tables for tilapia, red-clawed crayfish and shrimp.
“Do you want your shrimp from the Gulf or raised in a sewer?” he asked, alluding to the risk of spilled oil in ocean breeding grounds for shrimp and the crowded conditions of commercial beds. “Think about the cost of raising those and bringing it to your table. And this is so much more fun.”
In his setup, the fish do double duty: Their waste fertilizes herbs that grow from the water surface, and the plants and their gravel help filter, purify and take up extra nitrogen. Raising fish and vegetables together is called aquaponics.
Epstein believes that aquaculture and aquaponics — in small, efficient networks — will be critical to restoring food supply to people after natural catastrophes, “where you have to get food systems up and developing fast.” They can be set up on vacant land, even parking lots — arable soil is not necessary.
“We are all charting new waters,” said Epstein, who with engineer Ken Lovell founded Algosolar Systems to design self-contained food systems. “Anyone doing it now has an opportunity to be a real pioneer. How close can we get to nature? How off the grid? Once you start to see the potential, you get obsessed with it.”