Aquaponics new facet of agriculture, combines fish, vegetables

The first International Aquaponics Conference was held last month in Stevens Point. As a type of agriculture, aquaponics is still in its infancy, but gauging from the attendance, it’s generating lots of interest, both in this country and abroad.

In aquaponics, plants and fish grow together in one integrated system – without soil. Fish waste feeds the plants; plants filter water so fish thrive. The result is a continuous supply of fresh, organic food that can be grown in minimal space – anywhere – with almost no impact on the environment. Aquaponics is indoor “farming” in a greenhouse-type environment. With the right science, aquaponics is both economically and environmentally sustainable.

As the fledgling aquaponics industry grows, the need for trained greenhouse-system managers has emerged. UW-Stevens Point has responded by becoming a leader in aquaponics education. In partnership with Nelson and Pade Aquaponics, a Montello-based provider of aquaponics systems, supplies and training, UW-Stevens Point has become the first accredited university to offer semester-long aquaponics classes.

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