Increasing Produce Costs – How Aquaponics can Help

by in Aquaponics, Environmental News April 20, 2019

The prices for fruits and vegetables are expected to nearly double in Australia within the next ten years, due to rising water and energy costs. Turning to sustainable solutions such as aquaponics can help to combat this issue and keep produce widely available for a fraction of the cost.

Global climate changes are leading to new challenges for farmers worldwide. Droughts and extreme temperatures are limiting harvest yields and forcing farmers to increase the prices of their fruits and vegetables. Aquaponics offers a simple solution to this difficult problem, allowing a variety of crops to be grown in any climate with up to 90% less water.

Why are Produce Prices Increasing?

Australian farmers are currently experiencing great difficulties when it comes to meeting consumer needs. Some farmers are falling weeks behind schedule, and others are forced to raise produce prices to stay in business. The main contribution to these problems is the limited clean water supply. Water shortages can really ramp up food production costs. Water is absolutely necessary to grow plants, and throughout the hot summer months a very large quantity is needed to produce a crop yield that can support public demand. Some farmers are having truckloads of water brought in to keep from losing harvests. This large expense even further drives up produce prices.

Water shortages is not the only factor contributing to these dramatic price increases. Traditional farming methods also require a lot of crop maintenance! From spraying pesticides and insecticides to watering fields throughout dry weeks, there is always work to be done to ensure that yields remain high. As labor costs increase, produce costs must also increase in order for small farms to stay in business.

Though Australian farmers are being hit the hardest right now, it is very likely that many other regions of the world will experience these trends sooner rather than later. Increasing global temperatures have already dramatically increased the prices of winter vegetables such as broccoli and celery. Though it may not seem like a large problem now, a diminishing supply of fruits and vegetables is an issue that should not be taken lightly. Now is the time to look forward to sustainable solutions that will continue to provide fresh, safe food to people worldwide – even when traditional farming practices can’t.

How can Aquaponics Help?

Aquaponics can play a major role in solving the problems associated with high vegetable prices. It can be used for both large scale crop production as well as growing food in individual homes. Growing food with aquaponics requires very little work – simply feed the fish and the rest of the system handles itself! Plus, aquaponics uses up to 90% less water than traditional farming techniques, so a water shortage would have a way smaller effect on aquaponic crops. You can learn more about the many benefits of aquaponics on our SGS Aquaponics page.

Fruits and vegetables grown with aquaponics can be harvested year round if grown indoors. A large amount of space is not necessary to produce a sizeable amount of food – a two or three foot grow bed can easily produce food to feed a family. Check out our Aquaponics in your Home article to read more about how much food you can grow per square foot in an aquaponics system!

Now let’s take a minute to look at how much money you actually save by growing your own herbs and veggies. In a one square foot of space, you could grow $40 worth of basil, $40 worth of cilantro, and $50 worth of thyme in one year [2]. That is $130 worth of food, in one square foot of space! If you added two cherry tomato plants to your system, you’d be producing another $60 worth of food [3]. This is nearly $200 saved in grocery expenses in just one year. Aquaponic systems quickly pay for themselves, and continue to provide fresh food as long as they are properly maintained.

Aquaponics in Your Home

Aquaponics is not a concept for advanced farmers and gardeners. In fact, it is super simple to grow vegetables right in your own home with a basic aquaponics system! Seventh Generation Solutions offers both standard and custom aquaponics systems, so you’re guaranteed to find a system that is the right size for your needs. Our systems are designed to be stylish and incredibly simple to maintain. The herb garden, shown above, is one of our top standard systems. This system was created to grow herbs, lettuce, and tomatoes, while fitting comfortably in any kitchen.

Seventh Generation Solutions now also hosts lecture events geared towards teaching the community about aquaponics and other sustainable practices. See how other people in the community are making strides in sustainability, and make a DIY aquaponic system with our team! Visit our events page to learn more about our upcoming lectures. Also, be sure to join our mailing list to be the first to hear about our latest events and giveaways!

References:

[1] Nichols, Jennifer, and Lydia Burton. “Fruit and Veg Prices ‘Could Double’ as Farmers Face Rising Costs and Weather Extremes.” ABC Rural, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 8 Apr. 2019, www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-04-08/food-price-crunch-warning/10980234?smid=Page%3A%2BABC%2BAustralia-Facebook.

[2] “SMALL GARDEN SPACE? GROW OVER $244 WORTH OF PRODUCE IN 9 SQUARE FEET.” The Real Farmhouse, www.therealfarmhouse.com/grow-over-244-worth-of-produce-in-9-square-feet/.

[3] Handschuh, Dawn. “Calculating the Savings in Growing Your Own Food.” New Dream, 28 Feb. 2018, newdream.org/blog/2011-09-calculating-the-savings-in-growing-your-own-food.

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