Office of Continuing Education & Training
- Hydroponic growers view fish-manured irrigation water as a source of organic fertilizer that enables plants to grow well.
- Fish farmers view hydroponics as a biofiltration method to facilitate intensive recirculation aquaculture.
- Greenhouse growers view aquaponics as a way to introduce organic hydroponic produce into the marketplace, since the only fertility input is fish feed and all of the nutrients pass through a biological process.
- Food-producing greenhouses – yielding two products from one production unit – are naturally appealing for niche marketing and green labeling.
- Aquaponics can enable the production of fresh vegetables and fish protein in arid regions and on water-limited farms, since it is water re-use system.
- Aquaponics is a working model of sustainable food production wherein plant and animal agriculture are integrated and recycling of nutrients and water filtration are linked.
- In addition to commercial application, aquaponics has become a popular training aid on integrated bio-systems with vocational agriculture programs and high school biology classes.
Aquaponics, also known as the integration of hydroponics with aquaculture, is gaining increased global attention as the fastest growing bio-integrated efficient intensive food production system. Aquaponics serves as a model of sustainable food production by following certain principles:
The waste products of one biological system serve as nutrients for a second biological system.
The integration of fish and plants results in a polyculture that increases diversity and yields multiple products.
Water is re-used through biological filtration and recirculation, a closed system.
Local food production provides access to healthy foods and enhances the local economy.
Greenhouse growers and farmers are taking note of aquaponics for several reasons:
- Minimum water use
- 100% Organic
- Eliminate soil borne pathogens
- No pesticide used
- Do away with the need to plough the soil
- Stops backbreaking work of digging the soil and weeding
- Can produce fish and veggies for the family / grower all year round
- Working at waist level vs. bending or kneeling
- Can be integrated with other sustainable farming technologies
The workshop will train participants in basic theory and designing along with hands-on construction & assemble a hobby scale as well as a hybridized ¼ scale commercial production system made famous by Dr. James Rakocy from the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI).Prepares candidates for the following types of employment:
- To design and assembly an aquaponics food production system with the potential to expand into an commercial operation
- To seek employment as an aquaculture/aquaponics technician
- To participate in a Farm Service Team delivering various forms of labor and management support to existing farms and agricultural enterprises
- Teachers can also be trained to apply small-scale aquaculture projects as powerful educational tools for middle to high school students. Students learn hands on Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math, Nutrition, Data collection, Statistics, Animal & Plant Relationship, Problem Solving Skills, Scientific Writing Skills, Construction & Plumbing Skills and much more through managing & maintaining a classroom aquaponics project.