An Aquaponic farm for Aylmer
Aylmer’s innovative streak is at work for establishing an aquaponic farm. Aquaponics is a term used to describe a food-production system that is based on synergy between complementary practices including hydroponics, raising fish, and above-ground fruit and vegetable horticulture.
The advantages to this type of ecosystem make it increasingly popular because there is virtually zero waste. Fertilizer and pesticides are not needed and water use is much lower than with traditional agricultural practices because of the multi-system-based agriculture. Food production with aquaponics is ten times more efficient than traditional agriculture and can be done during the entire year, advocates in Deschênes explained. These advantages ensure the availability of fresh food and fish, at reasonable cost. There is a difference between hydroponic and aquaponic agricultural techniques. Hydroponic growing is part of aquaponics, where fish and plants are in the water, involved in the purification of the water systems.
This is a pilot project jointly run by the Groupe communautaire Deschênes, the Partenaires du secteur Aylmer and a committee of interested residents, institutional representatives and community partners. Deschênes has no grocery or fresh food store, so this project is part of a solution for residents there.
A survey was carried out in the neighbourhoods to establish what people think about the project. It was in English and in French. Surveys were put out in local businesses, the church and at the Groupe communautaire Deschênes. Results of the survey will be shared with the community and with elected officials who aim to be on site for the results announcement, August 18 at 11 am at the Deschênes community centre.
In the long term, there is a will to develop a social economic entity to work on food security by managing the aquaponic farm. Doing so would put the project and the food itself, in the hands of Deschênes residents. (Translation : Lily Ryan)