Our Aquaponics Farm
How Controlled Environment Aquaponics (CEA) can restore food sovereignty to the island of Puerto Rico
Controlled Environment Aquaponics or CEAq is a form of agriculture, the entire premise of which is based upon the mutually beneficial relationship between plants, fish, and microbiomes. It is essentially the combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growing of plants) in an environment where fish and plants grow together in one integrated, closed-loop ecosystem.
How CEA Aquaponics Works
At Fusion Farms, tilapia are raised in large tanks, where they are overseen by Fusion Farms’ aquaculture experts and tended to by our carefully trained staff. As the fish produce ammonia through their gills and waste, the ammonia is broken down by beneficial bacteria, creating nitrites which are converted to nitrates essential for the plants. In simple terms, the fish are the nutrient engine for the plants to grow.
In this closed-loop system, hundreds of gallons of water circulate between the fish tank and the deepwater culture (DWC) where the plants absorb the nutrients through their roots. The nutrient-rich water from the fish provides the natural fertilizer for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish.
This all takes place within a “controlled environment,” in which temperature, humidity, and other important variables for agriculture can be carefully managed to give both the fish and the plants the best environment to thrive. Through careful monitoring, data collection, and water testing, aquaponics will produce the highest nutrient density in the shortest amount of time protected from bad weather, mold, pests, disease, and harmful pathogens. Aquaponics is chemical-free, pesticide-free which allows the plants and the fish to express their full flavor profile naturally. With only one perfect season year-round, lettuce takes only 28 days to full maturity which allows for 12 harvest cycles per year!
The Benefits of Aquaponics
This harmonious relationship between plants and fish creates an exceptionally sustainable and productive agricultural ecosystem that:
- Requires little water and other resources, since the water is continuously recycled and the fish fertilize the plants (aquaponics uses 90% less water than traditional farming)
- Can produce a variety of crops and in almost any location around the world as a controlled environment where consistent temperature and humidity create one perfect season 365 days a year
- Provides a continuous and reliable source of fresh, nutritious fish and a great variety of leafy greens, herbs, vegetables, and fruits for consumption.
- Can cater to the needs of an entire family, community, school, hospital, or institution from one relatively small-scale operation.
- Provides a cheaper and much healthier, more delicious alternative to food that has to be imported, as is currently the case in Puerto Rico.
- Provides fish food that is free from herbicides, pesticides, and hormones. Fish are raised in lower densities to minimize stress.
- Provides food with a lower risk of contamination in a biosecure, closed environment.
Controlled Environment Aquaponics is the future of agriculture and can be a hyper-local solution for food insecurity.
How Aquaponics Farms can Feed Communities
In countries, cities, and communities that don’t have an established agricultural sector and, consequently, rely on imported food to feed their populations, such as Puerto Rico, Controlled Environment Aquaponics can offer a sustainable source of healthy, nutritious food. Locally grown, this produce is rich in nutrients and has a much longer shelf-life. In places where the climate is harsh or prone to frequent extreme weather events such as hurricanes, Controlled Environment Aquaponics can provide a lasting, reliable solution to food shortages.
Building and managing farm operations will not only provide food, but much needed jobs.
Controlled Environment Aquaponics or CEAq truly optimizes the use of resources, such as water, energy, space, capital, and labor, to grow just about any commercially viable crop and fish, making it a sustainable farming solution for any community in the world. Here in Puerto Rico, the struggling economy, infrastructure, power grid, and agricultural challenges make it clear, now more than ever, that the island needs to establish its food sovereignty. Fusion Farms has paved the way for food security and for the island to feed itself.