The Fort Chipewyan Community High School welcomed an educational aquaponics system this past winter. In February 2022, Greenplanet Energy Analytics travelled to the Fort Chipewyan community to install a “flood and drain” aquaponic garden.
Aquaponics is a form of sustainable food production that raises fish and provides fresh vegetables indoors and year-round. In an aquaponics system, the waste that is produced by the fish (fish poo) is converted into nutrients for the plants by bacteria that live throughout the system. When plants absorb these nutrients, they clean the water for the fish. This is an example of a symbiotic relationship where two living organisms help one another to thrive. The system is best suited to growing leafy greens and herbs, such as lettuce and kale. The high school system has goldfish, although edible fish such as tilapia and trout can also be raised.
In addition to having a hands-on application to support learning biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, students who work with the aquaponic system will also learn how to grow their own food and will build their skill set for potential employment opportunities in Fort Chipewyan and outside the community. For example, plans for the Sustainable Food Production Centre in Fort Chipewyan are underway — the Centre will be a hub for various forms of urban agriculture. In other parts of Canada and the World, the urban agriculture industry is constantly evolving and growing — it’s an exciting field to get involved in for those with a passion for sustainability!
For more information on aquaponics and other ways to grow food sustainably, check out the 3NE Learning Page.