Students in Somerset will be learning how to create and manage an aquaponics system as a sustainable way of growing food thanks to a specially-built mobile demonstration unit created by HydroGarden.
Bridgwater College?s team leader for horticulture & countryside management, Nigel Cox, attended BAQUA?s (British Aquaponic Association) national conference and expressed the need for a small mobile aquaponics system that he could transport to schools. Fellow conference attendee, Stephen Fry, commercial sales manager for hydroponic and aquaponics innovators HydroGarden, responded by creating a mini version of the company?s existing FishPlant system, which can easily be transported in a car and assembled in minutes.
Stephen said: ?I was attending the BAQUA conference when Nigel spoke about what he really needed to get the message out about the benefits of aquaponics ? a mobile system that he could use during his teaching sessions, both at the college and at local schools.
?So on returning to Coventry, I challenged our engineers with devising a mini version of our existing system, FishPlant. FishPlant systems are already being used in colleges and schools around the country to great effect, both as a learning tool and as a means of growing produce that is then used in other areas such as in the teaching kitchens and restaurants.?
Aquaponics works by using the waste created by fish to feed plants via a filtering system that constantly recycles the water. The secret to success lies in the presence of microbes which convert the fish waste into usable plant nutrients.
The college?s new mini system is fully functional and suitable for goldfish. It comprises a 200 litre base tank and an 80 litre grow bed, and can grow up to 15 salad plants at a time, including lettuce and herb varieties. The college already has a full-size aquaponics system which the fish can be transferred to and from as required.