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The sustainable practice of aquaponics is allowing this farmer to harvest rainbow trout away from its natural habitat.
Rainbow trout aren't usually found in the warm climate of Loomerah, NSW, but aquaponics grower Gordon Garradd, is successfully raising them on his farm in a sustainable and ethical manner.
Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, which is a process of growing plants without soil. The ability to access fertile soil is a challenge modern farmers around the world are facing. The integrated and symbiotic system of aquaponics allows farmers to grow food and harvest fish all year round without fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, provided that their system in climate controlled, for example, using a greenhouse.
Learn more about aquaponics with our handy guide!
The waste from the rainbow trout in the tank fertilises the water, which in turn irrigates fruits and vegetables, purifying the water once more. By using and recycling the water through natural processes that help his farm flourish, Garradd's farm is a glowing example of the ability to make sustainability practices widespread.
Image: Gordon Garradd feeds his rainbow trout, ABC Rural
His integrated system uses solar power, which pumps the nutrient-rich water from the 9,500 litre fish tank through a series of garden beds laden with fresh vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli and finger lime. The plants extract the nutrients and clean the water, which can then be pumped back into the fish tank. This method is not only sustainable, but requires little attention.
Garradd keeps the water cool by installing a water-chiller and gravel insulation, as well as shading the tank with succulent plants and vines. This keeps the tank below 21 degrees Celsius - the temperature for the rainbow trout to thrive in.
Not only is Garradd's farm environmentally friendly with reduced water use, but the fish are ethically harvested by being kept stress free. At night when their vision is poor, several fish are caught at a time in a net. And before the fish are lifted from the water, he strokes their bellies make them calm.
All images provided by ABC Rural
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