Home Aquaponics is Expanding During the Lockdown

(Aquaponics Victory Garden from Dr. George Brooks)

By Brian Filipowich

We recently sent a short, informal survey asking how the lockdown conditions are affecting aquaponic growers. This article provides the results for home / personal aquaponic growers. We got about 30 responses in this category. (Also see the results for Commercial Aquaponic Growers.)

Survey respondents indicate that the lockdown conditions are giving them more time to physically improve their systems, and to do more research to hike up the long and rewarding aquaponics learning curve. At the same time, personal growers are seeing increased value in growing large quantities of their own food.

Tawnya Sawyer from The Aquaponic Source stated that they have “seen an increase in home and hobby as well as farming customers who now have the time and energy to produce their own food. One of the most exciting things is that people who haven’t heard of aquaponics before are calling and looking to get started right away. They really love the idea that aquaponics is fish-powered, more natural than hydroponics, and more fun and easier than toiling in the soil.”

Several growers said the lockdown had no effect on their aquaponics. And zero respondents stated that the lockdown had negatively affected their growing. The one exception is possible supply shortages. One major theme among home growers is potential supply shortages, particularly for fish.

The lockdown conditions show us all how fragile the global food system can be. Aquaponics gives home growers the ability to produce large quantities of their own food and work towards food independence, even without access to soil. We will have to monitor supplies and make sure home growers have what they need to keep growing!

Here are quotes from home growers about how COVID has affected their aquaponics:

  • “We stocked up on feed, and the system is running well. We may run into supply issues down the road. Everything is healthy.” – Zack Walker
  • “I will be upgrading my system, building a greenhouse to give me more space to grow food for my extended family. I am also using my system to teach my grandkids about growing their own food.” – Black Hills Aquaponics
  • “I’ve planted fast crops for friends and family.” – Frank
  • “Personally I have a lot more time for my aquaponic system maintenance and upgrades since we can’t go to the college institute because of the outbreak. And also a lot more time to study about aquponics.” – Leon
  • “There are certain materials that are not readily available in my location , like bio balls, activated carbon bio rings and some other stuff. Unfortunately, imports are being restricted from China which is the source of my materials. This poses some threats to my aquaponic garden.” –Stephen P.
  • “Farming helps alleviate stress as always, but now I/we may be depending on my urban farm!” and “It’s hard to find fingerlings in Arizona.” – Paul
  • “The lockdown has given me a lot more time to focus on aquaponics.” – Barbara
  • “Our aquaponic system is a hobby/home system. It provides us with most of the green vegetables and tomatoes that we eat. We harvest two or three times a week for salads and cooking which keeps us out of the grocery store as much as would otherwise occur.” – Dennis Howard
  • “I have focused a lot more on the growing of my own food. It has always been a hobby for me and now we are ramping it up out of potential necessity.” – Chip Nelson
  • “We are witnessing more people expressing their interest with our aquaponics growing.” – Terence K.

RELATED — Read about Aquaponics Victory Gardens

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