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Aquaponics Uses Fish to Grow Produce

Farmers use the waste produced by fish, to grow any and everything. With aquaponics there is no growing season. Plants can be harvested all year round, and can last over a year before needing to be replanted.
You may not think of fish when it comes to your fruits and veggies, but one local grower is using the underwater animals to make even more food.

If you can plant it, these talapia can grow it, and then some.

It may sound like a made up word, but aquaponics is making a big splash in the agriculture industry.
   
Farmers use the waste produced by fish, to grow any and everything.

"The only thing you have to take care of at that point is your fish, as the saying goes, happy fish equal happy plants. If you keep the fish  healthy and energetic in the water and they will produce just as much waste as you can possibly handle with the grow bed," said Greener Scenes Aquaponics founder Mathew Pollom.

Pollom says he got the idea after seeing the process work at Disney World.

"I kind of caught the gardening bug on a whole new level at that point," said Pollom.

He's been growing his produce using the system ever since.
   
There's no dirt or soil required, so the cost of maintaining the garden is extremely low.

"In the traditional backyard garden dirt farming, you use all that water in it just goes away. In aquaponics the water never really goes away," said Pollom.

With aquaponics there is no growing season.
   
Plants can be harvested all year round, and can last over a year before needing to be replanted.

"It can be done in basements and garages, in the winter time and you can have food just as good in December as when you had it in July," said Pollom.

This new way of growing isn't just for the farmers, even local businesses are looking at aquaponics as a option in the future.
   
At Baesler's Market in Terre Haute, they say using the system would allow them to make sure every thing on their shelves is organic.

"This way we can monitor know that it's completely self sustained visual, the fish are fed only natural ingredients and and tomatoes are grown from what the fish produces," said Casey Baesler.
   
Letting consumers know exactly what they are buying.
   
"This is by far the greatest way possible for community like ours to produce our own food and to become food self-sufficient," said Pollom.

Pollom is now working with Ivy Tech Community College to set up an aquaponics garden on campus.
   
That is expected to open next month.
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