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  • This is a seed.

  • It doesn't look like much right now, but if you...

  • Put it in the ground.

  • Give it some water.

  • Fight off invaders and wait a little while...

  • After a few weeks, with a little luck, you might end up with a head of lettuce.

  • That's a lot of work for a hundred calories.

  • But what if we had an easier way of doing things...

  • One that didn't require any soil, used much less water, and grew faster?

  • One where food could actually grow itself?

  • By 2050, the world's population is expected to reach almost 10 billion people.

  • That's a lot more mouths to feed.

  • But, only 11 percent of land is even suitable for agriculture.

  • So, farmers will have to turn to innovative and more efficient farming practices for a solution.

  • One of the most promising is a method called aquaponics, which doesn't require any soil, and involves raising fish and plants together in a contained system.

  • There are several different setups you can use, but here's how the most popular method works. -[Deep water culture system.]

  • The process begins at the fish rearing tank.

  • Here, highly adaptable fish like tilapia, are given plenty of fish food, which also leads to plenty of waste.

  • The solid waste is filtered out by flowing water, but the waterwhich is still full of ammonia from the fish excrementis mixed with special plastic pieces.

  • Naturally occurring bacteria grow on these surfaces, which helps convert the toxic ammonium in the water into nitrites and then nitrates.

  • Nitrates are basically plant food.

  • So, the nutrient-rich water flows out into the growing area, where seedlings on floating rafts can absorb the food directly through their roots.

  • No soil required.

  • Above them, energy-efficient LED lights are adjusted to provide the optimal color spectrum.

  • -All of this comes together, helping the plants grow up to twice as fast as land crops. -[Visible light spectrum, vegetative growth, flowering period.]

  • And because the plant roots purify the water, the cycle can start all over again.

  • Commercial systems can yield up to 12 times as much produce per square foot as traditional farming methods.

  • Leafy greens like lettuce are the easiest crops to grow, but they often focus on more valuable herbs like basil and mint.

  • Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable agricultural systems, but it still has a long way to go before becoming a go-to farming method.

  • New developments are continuing to make the process more customizable, automated, and efficient than ever.

  • Who knows, in the future your salad might even be grown by a fish!

  • What food would you grow in your aquaponic system?

  • Let us know in the comments below.

This is a seed.

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B1 US fish water grow farming soil aquaponics

How a Fish Might Grow Your Next Salad | Decoder

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    Fibby posted on 2020/05/03
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