As the cost of imported water increases annual for Southern California farmers, we are proactively experimenting with new sustainable methods of farming.
The first sustainable farming method we plan to implement in the near future is the use of straw bales to grow our produce. Once the straw has been established, it holds water similar to coco hair/coir and has a greater water capacity than the soil system we currently are using. We are hoping this will decrease our water use by more than 30%; greater if we use shade houses/greenhouses.
Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals being raised can accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrification bacteria into nitrates and nitrites, which are utilized by the plants as nutrients, and the water is then recirculated back to the aquaculture system. (Source: Wikipedia)