Aquaponics - Beyond Organics
The Berrysmith Foundation’s involvement in the Aquaponics Project is completed with the investment leading to an aid project in the Cook Islands which was a feature of the 2012 Pacific Leaders Forum. The Foundation has handed back the Aquaponics facility to Tasman Bay Herbs. Ashley’s mission to prove that Aquaponics is a financially viable and sustainable method to grow food is now complete.
Ashley sees Aquaponics as a step beyond Organics. Due to the interdependence of the components of the artificial ecosystem there are no quick fixes and the system cannot be cheated. Fish are very sensitive to chemicals and as a result spraying is not an option; otherwise the natural ecosystem will collapse and will have to be re-started from scratch. The system would then take many months to stabilise.
Aquaponics is chemical-free food production, but it also looks at food production systems from a holistic sustainability viewpoint. It is a complete biological system.
Aquaponics presents a solution to some key environmental issues including the declining amount of arable land per capita, the dwindling supply of fresh water and the over fishing of the seas.
The high-density nature of aquaponic systems means that they can be located close to communities, reducing carbon emissions created by food transportation. The only water to ever leave the system is through evaporation from the leaves of the plants and the produce itself. In addition two food sources are grown using one body of water, making aquaponics one of the most efficient food production systems in the world.
Two food sources are created from one input (fish feed). It has been a challenge to source sustainable fish food, but Ashley Berrysmith is investing in creating fish food from sustainable waste products. Please see the research produced by Adrian Hoggard at Massey University in the “Projects” section.
It is the aim for Aquaponics to become organically certified, but certification organisations currently only address soil-based growing operations. This is something that will be worked towards in conjunction with organic certification companies.