Small-Scale Aquaponic Food Production Book

smallscaleaquaponics

Excellent free ebook (technical paper) I found when searching around yesterday, looks like a wealth of info to tap into for those wishing to test out the benifits of Aquaponics. For those who don’t know is a symbiotic integration of two disciplines: aquaculture and hydroponics. A symbiotic relationship between plant and fish, the waste from the fish feeds the plants and the plants in turn clean the water for the fish.

The growing technique is excellent for those hoping to avoid lots of expensive chemicals, it’s also a labour-saving technique too. In times of dwindling supplies of water and arable land worldwide this production system can really help us reduce water consumption on food production and enhance our food security.

The book discusses three groups of living organisms (bacteria, plants and fish) that make up the aquaponic ecosystem. It presents management strategies and troubleshooting practices, as well as related topics, specifically highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of this method of food production. The publication discusses the main theoretical concepts of aquaponics, including the nitrogen cycle, the role of bacteria, and the concept of balancing an aquaponic unit. It considers water quality, testing and sourcing for aquaponics, as well as methods and theories of unit design, including the three main methods of aquaponic systems: media beds, nutrient film technique, and deep water culture.

LINK: http://www.fao.org/3/contents/1dea3c92-1faa-47bb-a374-0cf4d9874544/i4021e00.htm
PDF BOOK: http://www.fao.org/3/contents/362f364a-b0d1-4b3b-8aa6-a725dac6515e/i4021e.pdf
DIRECT DOWNLOAD: https://planetpermaculture.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/aquaponics_guide_pdf1.pdf

Benifical Fungi Reduces Need For Plant Irrigation By 40%

https://i0.wp.com/www.sojournerandpilgrim.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/mycorrhizal-fungi.png

Strawberry growers could reduce irrigation inputs by up to 40 per cent while still maintaining yields, by inoculating their plants with naturally-occurring beneficial soil-dwelling fungi, researchers at Kent’s East Malling Research (EMR) have found.

Two different species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, or the two in combination, gave similar beneficial results over the control plants in trials by a team that was led by University of Kent PhD student Louisa Robinson-Boyer.

“While it has been long-known that these beneficial fungi can have positive effects on plant nutrient uptake, protect plants from infection by pathogens and buffer them against adverse environmental stresses, this work provides an opportunity to reduce irrigation by 40 per cent and still retain required growth and yield outputs,” she said.

“Working with these fascinating fungi has great potential to address some of the future food security challenges being raised by climate change. This work will greatly assist with future sustainable food production – maintaining yields while reducing inputs.”

The results are published in the Mycorrhiza journal. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi occur in most ecosystems, but their levels are much decreased across intensive agricultural systems, mainly due to soil tillage and the use of fertilisers.

Continue reading “Benifical Fungi Reduces Need For Plant Irrigation By 40%”

Britain Must Grow More Sustainable Food

cowsgrass

Proposals for national food strategy calls for UK farming ‘revolution’ in response to climate change and food security (2010)

Britain must grow more food, while using less water and reducing emission of greenhouse gases, to respond to the challenge of climate change and growing world populations, the environment secretary, Hilary Benn, said yesterday.

“Food security is as important to this country’s future wellbeing, and the world’s, as energy security. We need to produce more food. We need to do it sustainably. And we need to make sure what we eat safeguards our health,” he said.

Launching the government’s food strategy for the next 20 years with a speech to the Oxford Farming Conference, he proposed a consumer-led, technological revolution to transform UK farming.

“We know that the consequences of the way we produce and consume our food are unsustainable to our planet and to ourselves,” he said. “We know we are at one of those moments in our history where the future of our economy, our environment, and our society will be shaped by the choices we make now.”

He said consumers, rather than retailers, should lead by buying “greener” food, wasting less and growing more of their own: “People power can help bring about a revolution in the way food is produced and sold.”

Food businesses, supermarkets and manufacturers would follow consumer demand for food that was local, healthy and had a smaller environmental footprint – just as consumers had pushed the rapid expansion of Fairtrade products and free range eggs in the last decade, Benn said.
Continue reading “Britain Must Grow More Sustainable Food”

Using Agricultural Biodiversity To Improve Nutrition And Health

Using Agricultural Biodiversity To Improve Nutrition And Health

This volume explores the current state of knowledge on the role of agricultural biodiversity in improving diets, nutrition and food security. Using examples and case studies from around the globe, the book explores current strategies for improving nutrition and diets and identifies key research and implementation gaps that need to be addressed to successfully promote the better use of agricultural biodiversity for rural and urban populations and societies in transition.

“Currently 868 million people are undernourished and 195 million children under five years of age are stunted. At the same time, over 1 billion people are overweight and obese in both the developed and developing world. Diseases previously associated with affluence, such as cancer, diabetes and cardio-vascular disease, are on the rise. Food system-based approaches to addressing these problems that could enhance food availability and diet quality through local production and agricultural biodiversity often fall outside the traditional scope of nutrition, and have been under-researched. As a consequence, there remains insufficient evidence to support well-defined, scalable agricultural biodiversity interventions that can be linked to improvements in nutrition outcomes.

Agricultural biodiversity is important for food and nutritional security, as a safeguard against hunger, a source of nutrients for improved dietary diversity and quality, and strengthening local food systems and environmental sustainability. This book explores the current state of knowledge on the role of agricultural biodiversity in improving diets, nutrition and food security. Using examples and case studies from around the globe, the book explores current strategies for improving nutrition and diets and identifies key research and implementation gaps that need to be addressed to successfully promote the better use of agricultural biodiversity for rural and urban populations and societies in transition.”

You can download the whole book using this link: http://www.bioversityinternational.org/uploads/tx_news/Diversifying_food_and_diets_1688_01.pdf

Continue reading “Using Agricultural Biodiversity To Improve Nutrition And Health”

Deforestation Leaves Fish Undersized And Underfed

Trees on the edge of a lake (Image: EyeWire)
The role forest matter plays in aquatic food chains is a relatively recent discovery

Deforestation is reducing the amount of leaf litter falling into rivers and lakes, resulting in less food being available to fish, a study suggests. Researchers found the amount of food available affected the size of young fish and influenced the number that went on to reach adulthood. The team said the results illustrated a link between watershed protection and healthy freshwater fish populations. The findings have been published in Nature Communications.

“We found fish that had almost 70% of their biomass made from carbon that came from trees and leaves instead of aquatic food chain sources,” explained lead author Andrew Tanentzap from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Plant Sciences.

“While plankton raised on algal carbon is more nutritious, organic carbon from trees washed into lakes is a hugely important food source for freshwater fish, bolstering their diet to ensure good size and strength,” he added.

Size matters

Dr Tanentzap observed: “Where you have more dissolved forest matter you have more bacteria, more bacteria equals more zooplankton.

“Areas with the most zooplankton had the largest, fattest fish,” he added, referring to the study’s results.

Continue reading “Deforestation Leaves Fish Undersized And Underfed”

Soil Association In New Partnership To Certify Organic Exports To China

Image

Soil Association Certification and China’s organic certification body, Organic Food Development Centre (OFDC), have entered into a unique partnership that makes it cheaper and simpler for the UK’s organic businesses to export to China.

Demand for organic products in China is growing rapidly, with the market estimated to be worth USD 7.8 billion by 2015 [1], indicating that China’s consumers are increasingly looking for food and products they can trust. The partnership will allow Chinese organic consumers to access more high quality UK organic produce, as well as enabling UK Soil Association certified organic businesses, who saw strong growth of 6% in 2013 [2], to export to this major market.

Continue reading “Soil Association In New Partnership To Certify Organic Exports To China”

United Nations Say Small-Scale Organic Farming Is The Future Of Food Production

sustainable

Farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food, a new UNCTAD report recommends.

The Trade and Environment Report 2013 warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries.

The report, subtitled Wake up before it is too late: Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate, was released today. More than 60 international experts contributed to the report’s analysis of the topic. The study notes that the sheer scale at which production methods would have to be modified under these proposals would pose considerable challenges. In addition, it would be necessary to correct existing imbalances between where food is produced and where it is needed, to reduce the power asymmetries that exist in agricultural input and food-processing markets, and to adjust current trade rules for agriculture.

The Trade and Environment Report 2013 recommends a rapid and significant shift away from “conventional, monoculture-based… industrial production” of food that depends heavily on external inputs such as fertilizer, agro-chemicals, and concentrate feed. Instead, it says that the goal should be “mosaics of sustainable regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers and foster rural development”. The report stresses that governments must find ways to factor in and reward farmers for currently unpaid public goods they provide – such as clean water, soil and landscape preservation, protection of biodiversity, and recreation.

Climate change will drastically impact on agriculture, the report forecasts, primarily in the developing regions with the highest future population growth, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Much slower agricultural productivity growth in the future and fast-rising populations in the most vulnerable regions will almost certainly worsen current problems with hunger, drought, rising food prices, and access to land. These pressures may easily lead to massive migrations, and to international tensions and conflicts over food and resources such as soil and water.

The report cites a number of trends that collectively suggest a mounting crisis:
• Food prices from 2011 to mid-2013 were almost 80 per cent higher than for the period 2003–2008;
• Global fertilizer use has increased by eight times over the past 40 years, although global cereal production has only doubled during that period;
• Growth rates in agricultural productivity have recently declined from 2 per cent per year to below 1 cent;
• Two types of irreparable environmental damage have already been caused by agriculture: nitrogen contamination of soil and water, and loss of biodiversity;
• Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are the single biggest source of global warming in the South. They also the fastest growing (along with emissions from transport);
• Foreign land acquisition in developing countries (often termed “land grabbing”) in recent years has amounted, in value, to between five and ten times the level of official development assistance.

Continue reading “United Nations Say Small-Scale Organic Farming Is The Future Of Food Production”