Waterworks is Making Sustainable Agriculture a Reality
Waterworks is Making Sustainable Agriculture a Reality
Waterworks will grow organic vegetables year round in a passive solar greenhouse using renewable energy & sustainable growing methods
Waterworks will grow organic vegetables year round in a passive solar greenhouse using renewable energy & sustainable growing methods Read more
What is Aquaponics?
The simplest definition is that it is the marriage of aquaculture (fish farming) and hydroponics (soil-less growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for the growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in.
Waterworks Aquaponics is the baby of Christine Ball. Christine has had a lifelong interest in food and the environment but when she met her partner Pierre, an avid environmentalist, in 2011 that interest became a passion and a way of life.
With the support and encouragement of Pierre, Christine has created Waterworks Aquaponics. For the last year Christine has been studying Aquaponics and working with Scott Weir of Growing Gardeners in Calgary to develop Waterworks Aquaponics with the hopes to break ground in the summer of 2014. Waterworks Aquaponics will grow vegetables and fish to feed approx. 200 people from a 2400 sq ft passive solar greenhouse year round on 4 acres of land in Northumberland County, Ontario.
In addition, Waterworks Aquaponics will do sprouting in a smaller greenhouse on the property and plans to grow shiitake mushrooms and other varieties of mushrooms year round in an indoor facility.
We have the land, we have the plan... now comes the tough part... the money.
As you can see, there is a real need for indoor growing facilities in Canada if you want local, fresh produce year round.
And this is where the summer market garden is located:
The little greenhouse is our sprout house and if you look closely you will see our bee hives in the back right corner.
We have built our test system
Starting a test system is important, we have just finished setting up our test system and with the help of other aquaponics enthusiasts, Tim and Tania, we are looking forward to producing lettuce and kale in a media bed and floating raft bed.
Finally.... The Orchard and Berry Patch
On the Easter weekend, with the help of our friend Walker, we dug holes for our fruit trees - pawpaw, pear, plum, peach, hazelnut, apricot and mulberry, and picked up our berry bushes.
What We Need & What You Get
We are hoping to raise at least $50,000 in start-up funding to build our greenhouse and be eligible for government grants and financing programs. We have raised $3,513 from a previous fundraiser but we need to raise more.
We have purchased the land and completed the business plan, Christine has been studying aquaponics for the last year and working with a consultant to ensure we are doing everything right the first time. We are planting out outdoor market garden for the first time this year and planting out orchard and berries patches.
We have several ways to give back to our sponsors, we will offer tours of the facilities, acknowledgment on our website, Waterworks t-shirts and for larger donations... acknowledgment in our weekly food baskets once we are in full production and samples from our harvest. Once we are up and running we would also be thrilled to consult with others interested in getting involved in aquaponics.
The 21stcentury brings new challenges for human kind to supply food to the growing population of the world.
Currently, there are 7.3 billion people on earth. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,food prices have doubled in the past ten years. World Farm Ministers met in Berlin in January 2013 to discuss new ways to feed the projected 9 billion people that will inhabit the earth in 2050 with developing countries alone requiring a minimum of $83 billion a year to feed their growing populations.
Aquaponics has been explored for several decades as a possible solution to the foregoing environmental, energy and food shortage problems. Aquaponics combines two already very successful industries into one, the art of growing aquatic animals (fish), known as aquaculture, with the modern technology of hydroponics in which plants are grown without soil. In aquaponics, fish and plants are grown together in an integrated closed loop re-circulating system with a very low rate of water usage or water loss due to evaporation. The fish waste (effluent) produced by the fish is delivered from the fish tank to a settling tank to remove the heavy ‘waste’ and then sent to the grow trays to provide a food source for growing plants and the plants provide a natural filter for the water that keeps the fish healthy.
Waterworks proposes to build a commercial aquaponics system in Northumberland County that will provide fresh local produce and fish to the community year round utilizing aquaponics agriculture practice.
Other Ways You Can Help
We need building materials. If you live within 200kms of Cobourg Ontario and you have waste building materials that you need to get rid of please contact us. We will pick them up.
Risks and challenges
Aquaponics is very expensive to build, once a system is up and running the costs decrease tremendously but because we are in a cold climate we must be in a greenhouse. This is a new technology to Canada so getting access to funding is a real challenge, this has been the biggest obstacle to date.
The second risk, and closely associated, is power. Because we has very cold winters in our area we must have back-up for power... if the power goes out our plants and fish will die from the cold. We are using a wood/electric boiler and radiant heating coils to heat our water, if the power goes out we can switch to wood. On the off chance that the power goes out and we are away we will have a back-up generator that will automatically kick on.
The final risk, experience, I am not currently an aquaponics farmer, I am studying aquaponics but real life is usually much different... I have grown vegetable gardens and had gold fish... but I am a good marketer so I have the business side down. With the support of the amazing folks I have met in this very small and close knit community I have unbelievable resources who have committed to work with me every step of the way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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