Aquaponics in Alberta: A New Sustainable Method to Produce Safe Food
Authors: Savidov, N., C. Shultz
Description: Aquaponics represents a unique food system, which integrates fish and crop production in a closed-loop. Fish generate waste products, which become a source of nutrients for plants. Crops consume minerals and regenerate water quality for fish production. Microorganisms play multiple roles in aquaponics from breaking down organic waste and stimulation of plant growth to fish and plant protection from diseases. With no waste water discharged, aquaponics represents the most efficient water management system in agriculture to date. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, ARD, and Lethbridge College have been involved in the development of aquaponics technology in Alberta since 1998. The introduction of the solid waste treatment by ARD resulted to the only food system in the world, which produces no waste. The same water had been recirculating for 12 years. The ARD commercial prototype is fully automated to improve labor efficiency and minimize risks and it was tested in a commercial greenhouse setting. Lethbridge College de-coupled aquaponics system was built based on an existing fish operation. Viability of this approach has been demonstrated. The College has been actively involved in developing programs to train future aquaponic growers and develop safe protocols for running commercial operations. The activities of both institutions in the area of aquaponics considerably improved knowledge base, which enables industry in Alberta and Canada to adopt more sustainable methods in agriculture. These activities have produced a recent surge in private investments within the province and Canada, and the future indicates many more facilities are in the process of development.
Keywords: aquaponics, water management, biosolids and nutrient management
Technical field: Bioprocess Systems Engineering
Conference name: CSBE/SCGAB 2015 Annual Conference, Edmonton, AB, 5-8 July 2015.
Session name: Biosystem Management V - Agricultural and Aquatic Systems
Citation: Savidov, N., C. Shultz. 2015. Aquaponics in Alberta: A New Sustainable Method to Produce Safe Food. CSBE/SCGAB 2015 Annual Conference, Edmonton, AB, 5-8 July 2015.
Publisher: Canadian Society for Bioengineering
Language 1: en
Rights: Canadian Society for Bioengineering