By Navah and Jess, East Norriton Bulldog Bulletin | There are plants growing in large fish tanks at East Norriton Middle School, and they’re not just for show. Soon, students may be able to eat some of these plants. They include herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme and leafy green vegetables like kale.
The tanks are special gardening systems called aquaponics—a process in which plants are grown in water instead of soil. For nutrients, the plants use fish waste as fertilizer, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s website. Fish waste helps the plants grow, and the plants keep the water clean.
Mr. Davis, a seventh-grade science teacher, says that aquaponics “benefits Earth by creating a source
of food.” Plus, he says, it uses less
water than some other farming methods.
Mr. Fonash, who also teaches seventh-grade science, says aquaponic plants can grow faster than regular plants in a garden or on a farm. “You can get more produce with less space,” he says. Plus, “you can raise fish” along with the plants.
The process “is really simple,” Mr. Fonash says. “It can be done on a large or small scale anywhere in your house.”
If you want to start your own system at home (of course, with adult supervision), you should do some research first.
If you plan to focus on growing plants, you can use fish like gold- fish or tetras. If you want to grow both plants and fish to eat, tilapia is a great hardy fish to use, says gogreenaquaponics.com
So you could be a farmer too, right in the comfort of your own home!
Illustration by Jess, East Norton Bulldog Bulletin.