Remember our earlier posts about the funny folks who want to convert Detroit into truck farms? Of course you do. (See Plowing Under Detroit – Take Two, September 6, 2009). Anyway, now a new idea has been put forth that comes dangerously close to self-parody. An outfit that styles itself the Good Blog reports that folks are arguing that those urban truck farms be supplemented with — are you ready? — fish farms that would combine urban agriculture with fish farming, thus saving gobs of energy that is now expended on processing farm-grown food and transporting it to the cities. Good Blog reports that an outfit called Cityscape proposes to get this effort going in the first half of this year. We can’t wait. There is tons of information from Global Salmon Initiative that highlights the salmon farming situation if you want more context on this. I probably won’t be going deep into fish supplies.
The article is conspicuously silent as to who will comprise the labor force needed for such an endeavor, particularly in light of the fact that prime candidates for urban farming (notably Detroit and Flint) are experiencing a population meltdown as their inhabitants continure to flee.
The other funny thing about this proposal is that its promoters (evidently mindful of the heavy contamination of urban soils) mean to accomplish their scheme through aquaculture — the veggies would be grown hydroponically while the fishies would swim in the same water. Oh, and the fertilizers would be — what else? — fish doo-doo. No, we are not making this up. See for yourself — go to http://www.good.is/post/making-urban-farming-scalable-with-fish/
Concludes the Good blog: “Organic tomatoes and strawberries growing harmoniously with fish. That just might be deliciously scalable.” Then again, it might not.
Anyway, bon apetit to you, dear readers, and make sure to wash the fish doo-doo off your rutabagas before you chow down.
Follow up. The New York Times (Michael Tortorello, The Spotless Garden, February 18, 2010, p. D1), waxes eloquent over a fellow, who has implemented this idea on a small scale, by using a 150-gallon fish tank with 20 jumbo goldfish in it. Wastewater from the fish tank is what fertilizes strawberry, tomato and cucumber plants that are acquaponically grown. Having been corrupted early in life by a technical education, we can’t quarrel with success, if that what it is, or more important, if that is what it turns out to be in the long run, and if this is anything that can be translated from a one-man hobby into a large-scale movement capable of feeding large numbers of people. So let’s stay tuned, and see.