In our on going search for awesome projects and leading technologies in aeroponics, we found MIT City Farm. Their goal is to bring aeroponics to the forefront of agriculture and change the way food is grown on a large scale. Caleb Harper, the Founder and Lead Researcher showed us the systems they use and the technology they are creating to improve and analyze it. They also believe that open source is the most efficient and most effective way to achieve the optimal solution for farming. Tribe Awesome agrees. Continue Reading →
To meet other people working in the world of aeroponics, we looked at other systems that being used on a commercial scale. During our search, we came across Chapala Gardens, a group of green thumb innovators committed to creating a healthier community through gardening.
Recently, we visited their headquarters in Santa Barbara. Jake, one of the three partners gave us a tour and showed us the systems they sell.
If you do not already know, aquaponics is a form of hydroponics that aims to be self-sufficient by using fish as a source of nutrients. In essence, the fish grow in a reservoir and create waste, mostly in the form of ammonia. Microbes then turn the ammonia into nitrites, and then nitrates, food for the plants. This is excellent for leafy greens which want large amounts of nitrogen.
To do some research, we toured an aquaponics system. Rick Frey showed and explained his system to us. It was awesome!
Rick custom-built an aquaponic garden inside a greenhouse. He is growing Tilapia and Goldfish to produce nutrients for his plants. He explained how the nutrition from the fish is not complete, making it more difficult to grow plants like tomatoes. Tomatoes want to have lots of other micronutrients that the fish don’t provide enough of. For plants like lettuce, that want to grow green and leafy, aquaponics works very well. So, depending on the plant, Rick believes that he would would need to supplement the nutrients produced by the fish.
You can see some of the other pictures we took in the gallery below: