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Learning About Aquaponics

Submitted by Transistion Del Norte

 

Ever wished you could grow your own food without getting your hands dirty?

Crescent City newcomer, Jerry Reed, taught a group of interested citizens how to do just that, at last weeks monthly Transition Del Norte meeting.  Offering a basic introduction to the techniques of aquaponics, which involves raising fish and vegetables together in a symbiotic system, Reed’s presentation covered both the “why” and the “how” of this efficient approach to growing food.  Facing global crises of economics, population, and pollution, it just makes sense, he said, to take responsibility for providing clean, healthy, affordable food for yourself and your family.  In his view, aquaponics is the way.

Reed recently moved his family to the area from the midwest after identifying Del Norte county as the perfect location for the aquaponics business that he sees as a solution to a global food crisis.  “I believe the world is in a state of crisis in terms of needing safe and reliable food supplies. Aquaponics fills these needs in virtually every way,” Reed stated.

The basic idea of aquaponics is to create a controlled, closed-loop ecosystem of fish and plants providing nutrients to support each others’ growth.  Imagine several heads of lettuce growing with their roots in a fishtank: the plants won’t need any watering or any costly imported chemical fertilizers, since the waste products from the fish actually act as fertilizer for the plants.  Aquaponics systems “can be as small or as large as required,” according to Reed, and can be installed indoors or outdoors, without any need for arable land.

The Transition group also discussed several active and upcoming community resilience projects, including the Community Rights movement, the launch of the Del Norte Hour Exchange, a free local timebank; the 1000 Tree Project, which aims to provide residents with 1000 fruit and nut trees; and the Conscious Living Expo.

Organizer Dan Schultz shared information about the Community Rights movement, a growing trend across the nation that has seen over 200 communities adopt local ordinances championing self-governance and taking a stand on such issues as fracking and GMOs.

Another hot topic was the launch of the Del Norte Hour Exchange; several attendees had already used the hour exchange platform to get help with building repairs and massage therapy; others were looking for help with babysitting and garden expertise.  With the goal of building neighborly bonds and helping people meet their needs outside of the cash economy, the hour exchange is an online platform where every person’s hour has the same value.  Members can post offers or requests and earn or redeem hours for services from dog walking and closet organization to professional carpentry or computer repair.  The Del Norte Hour Exchange is open to the public; anyone can apply for membership by visiting http://www.hourworld.org/_JoinUs.htm.

The Conscious Living Expo, sponsored by Transition Del Norte, will be taking place again this year at the Fairgrounds on May 16th.  Last year’s event drew over 300 participants and featured a variety of speakers and vendors around the themes of sustainability and permaculture, holistic health, environmental awareness, and community responsibility.  Registration is now open for vendors, speakers, and folks who would like to offer a skillshare to the community, as well as volunteers for the event.   Email transitiondelnorte@gmail.com to get involved.

Transition Del Norte meets every 1st Wednesday of the month at the Community Wellness Center at 550 E Washington Blvd.  We welcome your presence and input in building a more resilient community!

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