The Taste of Summer All Year Long?

1 Sep

1oo mile diets are impossible in colder climates right?  Maybe not anymore…

This summer in Saskatchewan (a province where -30 degrees Celsius is a norm in winter) a new company has opened up called Floating Gardens which will grow pesticide-free produce all year-round!!  For those of you who live in a warm climate able to produce fresh fruits & vegetables – you may not appreciate this to the full.  But for us winter dwellers – we know just how much produce is shipped in to make up our diets through fall, winter and spring.

Floating Gardens grows food in a sustainable way through aquaponics (a food production system that combines aquaculture with hydroponics.

WHY AQUAPONICS?

Nature is a perfect recycler. What’s waste to one is treasure to another.

Have you ever wondered why fish in a lake don’t need a filter like the fish in an aquarium do? It’s because their waste is needed by bacteria in the water. These bacteria use the fish waste as food and give off other products that are food for plants. It’s how lakes clean themselves. Aquaponics mimics this system.

Aquaponics is aquaculture (the growing of fish) and hydroponics (raising plants without soil) put together. The fish provide nutrients for the bacteria, the bacteria provide food for the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish. It is an old system first engineered by Aztecs in their floating gardens. Although it has ancient roots, aquaponics is just starting to find its place in commercial agriculture.

If we grew only plants or only fish, it would be difficult to not give off some waste products into the environment. By growing both together, almost no waste products need to leave the system. Aquaponics also uses very little water because the water can be used over and over again by the fish and plants.
Our aquaponics system is based on nature. The plants grow without adding any chemicals–we only feed the fish who turn the food into nutrients for the plants. We cannot add antibiotics or medication for the fish because it would hurt the bacteria and wreck the system. We cannot spray the plants because the fish are too sensitive to the chemicals.

Perhaps because it is a natural system, the fruit produced tastes like it comes out of a summer garden. It is given all the nutrients that nature intended, and you can taste it.

This is a very welcome idea in a province that only produces 7% of the produce that’s consumed.

If you live in Saskatoon – check out Floating Gardens at the farmers market every Saturday.

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